How can I balance giving my child a healthy lunch vs. him/her wanting to eat what they like?
The debate between eating healthy and giving your child foods that he or she will like is a constant battle in households. What are some of the tips that other parents use to instill healthy eating when packing school lunches? Peer pressure is prevalent when kids like to see what other kids have and or get jealous because mommy doesn't give them pizza everyday.
Being like peers, thus fitting in, is very important for kids, and packing lunch can be challenging for parents. To make it an easier task, make a list of acceptable (read: healthy) lunch options, and allow your child to select those that he or she will eat. If you approach lunch time as a team player, and not as a dictator, you might be more successful in having your child eat healthier!
As the mother of a picky eater, I would agree that balancing "healthy lunch" vs. "what child likes" can definitely be a challenge. However, the two don't have to be mutually exclusive. It is possible to find healthy foods that your child will like.
For us, it's a game of "keep trying" and using creative ways to introduce the healthy food (such as calling Brussels sprouts "baby cabbage" or "little cabbages"; or 'hiding' corn or spinach in the middle of biscuits, etc.). We're also not rigid in what we define as "healthy" -- the choices not only limited to veggies, tofu and boring, plain-tasting foods. Pizza can be a healthy option, and it's fun to make with your child too.
As a parent and teacher, I see the battle being won and lost each day. With my child, I prefer sending them to school with lunch. School tray lunches become ala carte for children and the choices are most always bad. I take my kids with me to the store to pick their lunches. We read contents and I steer (not force) my children into the better decisions. I have over the years been able to introduce foods they would have in the past rejected. You won't win every battle, but you'll "win the war". You must have reasonable expectations. Even today I hate Brussel Sprouts. No person will like everything that's good for her/him.
i allow one day in the week for their likes and a not so healthy lunch. the fruit is still there, a juice, a bottle of water and then the sweet option - brownies, crisps, a small chocolate bar etc. mondays to thursdays are the days for those non negotiable healthy lunches. i do make them fun and include bran muffins, mini pizzas, whole wheat sandwiches, crunchies, banana bread and corn / banana fritters, pancakes. these meals are chosen by my children so they are happy with the choices theat they are able to make. one does not have to be rigid - the meal has to be filling and have the necessary vital energy and vitamins they require. hope you found this helpful.