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Pack a Lunch Your Children Are Sure to Eat

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How to Make Sure Kids Eat Their Packed Lunch

I don’t always get the chance to point to articles that I am quoted in, but Mark Wigmore from the Toronto Sun did such a great job of writing up our interview about packing school lunches, including so many actionable tips, that I wanted to be sure the information was up on my website too! With the school year just around the corner, this is a timely article to help you get the school year lunches off on the right track.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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6 Responses to “Pack a Lunch Your Children Are Sure to Eat”

  1. Elly Johnson

    Hello: Hoping you can help me. My 5 1/2 year old daughter goes to a private school where lunch is provided. She will not eat lunch. The teachers and I have tried every angle from teaching our daughter about healthy eating, to telling her if she doesn’t eat lunch, she may get sick, etc., etc. but it seems to have the opposite effect on her. She is now at the point where she is not even drinking the milk that is provided. We think that she is using food as a control mechanism. Without getting into to much detail, can you provide some insight, suggestions, …anything. Want to deal with this in a positive manner as opposed to the negative effect it is currently having..I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks.

    Reply
  2. Alyson Schafer

    Hello Elly,

    Its frustrating isn’t it? There are several reasons to not want to eat lunch at school. Some children find eating very private and will not do it in public, preferring to go hungry. Other children would rather play with their friends so they get distracted from the task of eating. I am not sure what the original resistance to eating was about for your daughter, but now its seems it has taken on a life of its own. She is making a statement “you can’t make me eat” in response to feeling coerced to eat against her will. This is how power struggles get started. She now perceives eating her lunch as losing a fight to you. She won’t resume eating until she feels its not an issue for you. If you want her to start eating quickly, I would tell her “its your body, its your tummy and I am sure you can decide for yourself how much food to get in your tummy at lunch”. Then, instruct the teachers to ignore her eating ( or lack there of) and ignore her hunger strike. With no one at war with her, its not fun to not eat. She is no longer defeating anyone! Hunger will motivate her, or she may just be one of those kids who prefers to eat a big breakfast and then eat at home as soon as school is done. She won’t compromise her health eating this style. Run my advice past your family doctor if you have health concerns.
    Good Luck!
    Alyson
    Alyson

    Reply
  3. Jennifer A. Temple

    When my oldest son was 7 he became very opinionated about the packing of his lunch. (He wanted things like french toast, that to my way of thinking would be cold and awful come noon) I said “OK!, anybody that knows this much about making a lunch aught to be able top handle it!” I left the kitchen. I sat in a corner and cringed at what I thought his lunches would be. Danged if he did not pack french toast, bananas, cheese and milk. All the rest of his lunches were as weird and as healthy. I never packed an other lunch! Every lunch got eaten! (a big TREAT on my sons 7th Birthday was they got to cook their own eggs for breakfast while I watched)

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  4. Alyson Schafer

    My kids don’t like the packing part – but they love that they get to decide what goes in. I agree – my kids never really did choose bad stuff, or not for long anyway. It was never an issue. They want autonomy and to be self determined, even if it means more work!

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  5. Jennifer A. Temple

    Mine never objected to “the packing part”. Perhaps they were to young to realize they were getting “sucked” into a life time of packing their own lunch. My son saw it as a win for him and always remained happy to do it. One very funny event when this boy had reached his 16th or 17th year: We were standing side by side making peanut-butter and banana sandwiches and suddenly my son squealed, “What are you doing!?!” Me: “What?” Him: your cutting the banana lengthwise! I have always cut mine in rounds because that’s the way I saw you do it!” I nearly died laughing. I said, “Son, its just a banana! I started cutting long because I decided they fit better that way.”

    KNOW THIS, they do watch us very closely and learn silently. We must watch ourselves to know what our children are really learning.

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  6. Alyson Schafer

    Oh soooooo true!!!

    Reply

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