Tag Archives: healthy food

How to Make School Lunches Your Child Will Eat

Many parents these days are concerned with the quality of lunches provided by public schools. To put it mildly, many schools offer extremely unhealthy foods for lunch. As parents who want their kids to eat better, how can you help them?

Packing a healthy lunch for your child is one of the simplest things you can do to help them eat better. The challenge is making a lunch they’re more likely to eat than to trade away to friends.

Pay Attention to Their Likes

The first thing to do is know what your child likes to eat. This may change from year to year and even in the middle of the school year. Keep talking to your kids about what they like to eat for lunch and find healthy ways to provide that.

School lunch packing is not the best time to experiment or challenge your child’s food preferences. It’s easy for them to trade away unliked foods, or even to just throw it away uneaten. Push their interests at home where you can see the results.


Sometimes leftovers are great for lunches. You may need to provide a thermos to keep the food warm, but other leftovers taste great cold.

If there’s a meal your kids really love, make extras that you can separate into easy lunches and freeze. You can save excess for dinners for the whole family as well, of course. Providing them with favorite home cooked meals to eat at school may increase the chances that your child will eat what you’ve given them.


Don’t stick to the traditional sandwiches for every meal. Wraps are a great alternative, so long as you pick healthy whole grain tortillas, not just white flour tortillas.

Wraps are easy to make. You want to cover most of the tortilla, but leave a little distance from the edges to keep things neat. Lunch meats, vegetables and spreads work well. Mix them up and find out which your kids love the most. Do let your kids try hummus sometime, first at home, but if they like it, hummus is a great wrap ingredient.

Healthy Sides

Know what your kids love in terms of fruits and vegetables. Most will have a few favorites. Try to provide these in their school lunches.

My kids love bell peppers and cucumbers, for example. Put these in their lunch and they’ll usually be eaten.

Keep it Simple

Kids don’t need a feast at lunchtime. They need simple, filling foods and not a big selection. They’re usually as interested in chatting with their friends as they are in eating their food. Sometimes more interested in chatting with their friends. Give them too many choices and a lot of it will end up in the trash.

Dessert Doesn’t Have to Mean Sugar

Kids love getting a dessert item in their lunches. An occasional cookie or other treat isn’t going to ruin them either. But the dessert doesn’t have to be cookies or candy.

Berries work great. Granola bars usually have a lot of sugar, but have other healthy ingredients. Try to balance sweetness with good for your kids.

Variety May Not Be the Spice of Life

Don’t feel bad if you’re packing the same lunch over and over. Most kids like consistency. If they complain, that’s the time to mix things up.

Peer Pressure and Healthy School Lunches

I posted last year about my daughter feeling a bit of peer pressure about bringing her lunch to school. She was afraid friends would tease her, even if no one had.

This year she’s actually had a classmate comment that she’s eating too much healthy food.

Sure, kid, whatever.

My daughter had no idea how to handle this, so we went over a few ideas.

First my husband and I asked if she knew what her classmate was eating. Nope, not a clue. They don’t sit together at lunch or anything, so she’s never seen what the other girl eats. She doesn’t even know if the other girl buys school lunch or brings it from home.

Then we talked about what she could say. Nothing snide, although it’s sure tempting. We suggested that they could talk about what each of them likes to eat for lunch.

I also reminded her that she got a comment from a teacher about only bringing healthy foods when I put a cookie in for a snack for the first day of school. Everything else very, very healthy, but schools are so insane about sugar these days that a single homemade cookie was cause for a reminder to only bring healthy things. I tend to think that cookie was probably better for her than a lot of what most school cafeterias serve, at least in combination with the other foods she had.

She was taking it a bit hard because this is her first year at a new school and that made the teasing just a little harder to deal with. It’s tough when you’re the new kid, even though I know there’s at least one other new kid in her class.

Fortunately, she also loves what I’ve been sending for the most part. Makes things a little easier even if her favorite lunches to bring aren’t exactly the classics.

Still, I’m trying to think of interesting but reasonably healthy treats I can include for her. It’s tough to balance teaching healthy eating habits with helping her to feel more comfortable as she adjusts to a new school but I know we can do it.