This is a major challenge for children and parents. Children want treats that let them blend in with their friends. Parents want something healthy their child will actually eat and that doesn’t take forever to prepare.
Check out my 3 part post below!
PART I: School lunch -friend or foe?
While the school lunch is a decent option in some areas, it’s not ideal for every child. Consider the following:
With all that being said, here are two common problems we work on solving in appointments:
PART II: What's a parent to do?
When you are trying to solve the school lunch dilemma, keep the following tips in mind:
PART III: What to pack
When it comes to the details of exactly "what" to pack, the general formula is to "fill up" on fruits and vegetables then add a protein / fat and a small portion of starch. If your child is more active, up the starch content a bit. Include 1 "snack" food that the child loves if they want it. But please don't pack multiple snack foods - your child will likely eat them first and they won't keep your child full for long.
If your child doesn't like hot lunch...Make the process simple for yourself. You do not have to pack a unique lunch every day! Consider outlining 2-3 lunch ideas for the week - pack each 1-2x. Done.
If your child loves hot lunch (but you don't)...look at the menu together. Decide which days to have hot lunch and which days to pack something from home.
At the end of the day...ask your child if lunch worked for them. Do your best to avoid risky questions like "did you eat?" or "did you like it?" The child knows the correct answer is "yes" and they'll probably get in trouble if they say no. But at the end of the day, we all want to make sure our child is fed and happy.
DISCLAIMER: The writing here is for informational and educational purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for individual care. Your needs may vary. or individual support, please contact a provider.
Please note it's been a number of years since I have updated these posts. The content and philosophies may have changed as I've grown as a provider. Please reach out with questions or concerns.
Dietitian, personal trainer, mother, wife, runner, and endurance athlete supporting well-being, one bit and bite at a time