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Guest Blog: Dealing With Picky Eaters: How I Got My Kids To Eat Their Lunch

Posted: January 25, 2017 | Author: jhansbrough

The Grace Before Meals movement is predicated on bringing families back to the dinner table to build stronger families. Because of this, we invite people who seek to share their family experiences for others to benefit from so that we may all grow stronger in our family life, faith life, and even food life. This week's guest blogger is Caroline K. Taylor, a parent who shares different ways to get her children excited about the food that she packs them for lunch. 

How To Get Your Child To Eat Their Lunch Every Day

As a parent, one of my greatest daily struggles is getting my children to eat their school lunch. It used to feel like no matter what new trick I tried; I'd still come home to healthy, nutritious untouched lunchboxes. However, this year, I feel like I have finally cracked the code. After doing some research into the topic, involving my kids in the process and having open, honest conversations with them, they are eating their lunches. Hallelujah!

It is an achievement that's enough to make me feel like I have won "Mom of the Year". So if you too are struggling with picky eaters and are at your wit's end with frustration, here are the tips I used to get my kids to eat their lunch.

1. Get Your Kids Involved!

As soon as I gave my children the chance to choose what goes into their lunch boxes and help them pack it, I started seeing those empty containers coming home.

Allowing your kids to choose their food gives them a sense of control and responsibility. However, one of the biggest mistakes I made when I started implementing this plan was giving my kids complete carte blanche in the kitchen. Instead, rather give them three options to choose from, so you do not spend hours in the kitchen with a trio of indecisive kindergarteners.

Once you have got the meal locked down, it is time to move onto packing it. My kids love this part! They get a kick out of arranging what goes where in their YumBox, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them more excited to open their lunchbox at school the next day.

2. Get Creative With Different Combinations

Once I started involving my kids into the lunch making process, I began to notice that they were more motivated to eat their food if I gave them different ways to eat the same thing. For example, one day I would have a banana as an option and the next day it would be a banana sandwich.

By separating their food like this, it solved the problem of them becoming bored with their food. My kids loved seeing something NEW in their lunch boxes, and it gave them more incentive to tuck into it.

3. Test How Easy It Is To Open Their Lunchbox

When I began this experiment, my youngest had just started kindergarten. When I asked her why she was not eating her lunch, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and told me sadly that she could not open her lunch box.

I was shocked. This wasn't the reason I expected at all. My daughter was still developing her dexterity, and I didn't think to check how easy it was for her to open her lunchbox.

Since then, I have bought a new container and sat down with her to practice opening and closing it to make sure she can do it at school. If your child is not eating their lunch and they are still quite young, the reason may be something as simple as this.

Dealing With Picky Eaters And Their Refusal To Eat

My eldest, James, was the most difficult case to crack during this whole saga. Ever since he was a baby, finding foods that he would willingly eat without igniting a whole snot filled drama was challenging.

I had tried all the above tips and still he wasn't eating his lunch. So I decided to dig deeper to discover what was the cause of his problem. I sat James down, and we started having open dialogues about his refusal to eat specific foods.

Some of the reasons he gave me were:

He didn't like the food options available to him.

He hated the combination of food.

He had a fear of some foods after bad experiences.

He felt sick after eating something.

After these discussions, we adjusted his diet, and I started to reduce the pressure on him to eat. I didn't want him to hate food and develop an unhealthy relationship towards it. This can often lead to eating disorders which are far more dangerous than a picky third grader.

If you suspect your child is not eating because they feel pressurized to be thin or have an underlying eating disorder, it's a good idea to seek the help of a professional psychologist. They can help to encourage healthy eating patterns and work with your child to overcome their negative feelings towards food.


Make lunchtime a fun experience with your children! It's a great way to bond with them and develop a healthy, positive attitude towards food. Get them involved in the process, open up communication channels and make sure their little fingers can open their lunchboxes.

If you are still having problems, don't feel ashamed about seeking professional help. It doesn't make you a bad parent and asking for help will only have positive benefits in the long run.


About Caroline K.Taylor

Caroline Taylor is a child activist and mother of 3. She has contributed to Active Baby in the past and works on raising money for different child charities. She has a loving husband and loves to blog about her experiences. She enjoys the beach and walks her dogs with her family in her spare time.