The struggle between kids and parents over school lunches has been going on for generations and is not likely to stop any time soon.
It’s not easy to make sure your children are getting the nutrition they need while at school. Plus, once they leave the house, you aren’t able to stop them from swapping with classmates or throwing away the healthy food you packed that they don’t like.
What to do? The best thing is to make sure you pack them food that they enjoy—and that is healthy. To get to this point, talk to your child about how they feel about their lunches and why nutrition is important.
Ask your kids’ advice on what to pack in their lunch. Why not? It’s a great way to find out what they are eating and what they are throwing away. Plus, it will give you insight on what healthier foods they may be interested in.
Asking for their input and listening to what they say will also teach them valuable communication skills. By opening discussion with your children, you are teaching them how to articulate their feelings about a situation and come up with a solution.
If you set boundaries about the kinds of foods it’s OK for them to eat every day—and which ones it’s not—you will also teach them the importance of compromising and will set a foundation for lifelong healthy eating habits.
And, as noted yesterday, the ChooseMyPlate.gov website can be a good—and fun—place to explore with your children.
Before going to the grocery store, talk with your children about what they’d like to eat at school. The conversation will go more smoothly if you’ll have some options prepared in advance for children—especially younger ones—to choose from. Consider creating, with your kids, a “Build-A-Lunch” menu chart listing the different categories of items that need to be in their lunch:
While it can be tempting to go to the grocery store without your children, try making time for it as a family activity rather than a chore. Once you’ve figured out together what they should eat for lunch, go to the supermarket and have them help you find the items you’ve chosen.
A child who is old enough to read can help by being in charge of the list and directing where in the store you need to go. Smaller children can retrieve food items on lower shelves. Shopping in this manner is more like a scavenger hunt for them than it is a chore—it adds to the excitement and pride they’ll feel over planning their own lunches. So be sure to have a list with items they can cross off.
Categories: Tips & Advice