Tips for getting kids to make their own lunches
It’s almost time to start making school lunches. The more your kids are involved in making their own school lunches, the more likely they are to eat—and enjoy—them.
Making their lunches also allows them to take on responsibility and make healthy, balanced food choices. Plus, you’ll get more time to enjoy another cup of coffee—or sneak in an few extra minutes of sleep!
Start by discussing food with your kids—what tastes good, what’s healthy, what works best to build a healthy lunch. Then take the five suggestions below out for a spin, and see if they work in your house.
5 things that will help your kids pack their lunch
Provide A Blueprint
If kids had full control over lunch items, there’s a good chance that a lot of junk would get packed. Instead of handing over full control of lunch contents, give structured control by having your kids pick items from a list of approved lunchbox essentials.
A good way to ensure your kids create a balanced lunch is by having them include one fruit, one vegetable, one whole grain, and one to two servings of protein. Letting them choose between healthy items will give them independence and help alleviate any issues of food waste. The trick will be to always have plenty of options for your kids to choose from!
Make it easy
Organize kitchen and food storage areas so it’s easy for kids to reach what they need. Designate a low drawer or shelf for lunchbox containers and water bottles, and store easy-to-grab, parent-approved foods in the fridge and pantry. Things like yogurt, cheese sticks, precut fruits and veggies, granola bars, homemade muffins and cookies, and trail mix.
Grades 1 to 3 are a great time to introduce your packing blueprint and slowly incorporate your kids into the decision-making part of making a lunch. Grades 4 through 6 are usually when children are ready to take over the full task. Every child is different, so it’s important to keep individual ability and maturity in mind.
Expect Repeat Items
It’s ideal to consume a variety of healthy foods on a daily basis. But, are kids are kids—and often fussy little creatures of habit that love eating the same thing over and over again. Don’t stress if your kids are on food repeat. They’ll eventually get tired of the item and move on to something else.
When you’re ready to let go, really let go!
Having your kids pack their own lunches means letting go of a little nutritional quality and control. This is where you trust the blueprint, and let them learn. It’s not easy to let go, but it’s only one meal. Plus, you always have breakfast and dinner to fill in any nutritional gaps!
To help with any lunchbox blues, click here for some awesome school lunch hacks.