Packing Lunch For Your Kids

Yesterday I came upon an interesting article in the Washington Post, entitled “How to pack a lunch that will be eaten,” and thought it would be a nice read for anyone who has human contact or interaction with children.

Getting the Kiddies Involved

The article suggests that kids should help prepare their lunch.  This includes not only the physical prep, but also the creative decision process.  Having them write about it or draw a picture may help them want to try the food.

Based on childhood cooking studies, children who help cook food are more likely to eat it.  At Columbia University, The Cookshop Program investigated whether or not children who helped cook food they learned about in the classroom, would later eat what they had prepared and try new foods, too.

Results showed that children who cooked vegetables and whole grains in class, followed by eating the food with their friends, were more likely to try the school lunch foods. The Cookshop Program is now the core nutrition education program at the Food Bank in NYC–the premise being that kids should be involved in the cooking and prep process before being expected to try or eventually eat the food.

My Kid Won’t Help, What Now?

The article discusses what parents can do when a child is indifferent.  Some helpful ideas:

Provide variety.  The child may want to choose among a few different options to avoid boredom

Embrace food combining.  Trying out unique combinations of items may help the child become more familiar with other vegetables.

Revisit the menu.  Force-feeding a food that the child does not want can back-fire.  Come back to the menu and see if it works out another time, another day.

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