School-age

5 tips to get picky eaters to enjoy—and finish!—their lunches

Parent and fitness blogger Trisha Enriquez shares tips on how she keeps her girls energized and fuelled throughout the day

In partnership with Quaker 

Let’s talk back-to-school lunches! It has been a couple of months now that many of us have been racking our brain over what to pack our kids. Don’t worry, you are not alone. Whether your kids are in the classroom or learning from home, I think we can all agree that providing our kids with lunches that will keep them energized and fuelled throughout the entire day is a big priority. I know it’s not always easy because sometimes we have to deal with picky eaters while also considering our grocery budgets and then putting it all together while juggling day-to-day mom life! Gaaah! Mamas, I feel you! 

Truth is, I am really selective when it comes to packed lunches. With Harper at school, it’s crucial for her to have food options that help her thrive and help her stay focused in class. I know and have witnessed the change in Harper when she isn’t eating properly. She becomes restless, bored and unmotivated to learn. For all of these reasons, I wanted to share some of my tips that have helped keep Harper happy, as well as enjoying and finishing her lunch. My hope is that the next five points will help you and your kiddies too!

1. Get them involved

This was a game changer for us. Have your kids tag along to the grocery store so they can pick out some snacks and food that they like. Teach them about nutrition as you are shopping, so they can start to understand the benefits of eating healthy. In addition, allow them to get messy in the kitchen with you. When your child spends the time to participate in packing their lunch, they are more likely to eat it! 

2. Variety is key

No one wants to eat the same food day in and day out. Change it up! Don’t let those little taste buds get bored. Some days Harper likes spaghetti and meatballs while others she opts for hummus and veggies. Remember, change is good! 

3. Get inspired by finger foods

Think finger-food-style lunches like veggie sticks, dips and crackers. For snack time, we LOVE  Quaker Chewy granola bars. They are made with 100% Canadian whole grain Quaker oats and grains. Plus, they’re made in a peanut-free facility. I can feel good about choosing these bars for Harper. She also loves them as much as I do. PS – her favourite is Rocky Road while Noa refuses to share her Banana Chocolate Chip Quaker Chewy Bars!

4. Make it Fun

I’m not saying you have to go overboard and crazy with creativity, but do try and organize your child’s lunch so that it’s neat and visibly appealing. Harper likes when I add personal notes in her lunch box or when I use cookie cutters for her sandwiches and sliced cheese!

 

5. Keep it Simple

Lunch might not be the best time to introduce new foods, but this doesn’t mean you can’t think outside of the box. Consider soups, pastas or even breakfast foods for lunch.It doesn’t always have to be sandwiches Monday to Friday. Bottom line: Keep it simple!

Okay mamas, I know that this is only the beginning of the school year so don’t give up hope. 

You have lots of time to start implementing these tips.  When I refer back to this list, I no longer feel pressured to have my child show up with a Pinterest-worthy lunch box. I know what matters most to me and that’s providing Harper with a healthy lunch that she will enjoy and one that will keep her fuelled to show up as her very best self! 

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