6 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their School Lunches ~ Guest Post

6 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their School Lunches2

6 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their School Lunches ~ Guest Post

6 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their School Lunches

6 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their School Lunches

6 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their School Lunches

By Ana Reisdorf

Packing a lunch for school every day can be a real chore. Sometimes, despite your best efforts to send your child with a healthy lunch, it ends up in the trash or traded for something else. How can you make sure your little one actually eats what you made an effort to prepare? Here are some creative ways to get your kids to eat their school lunches.

1 – Get them involved.

Children are more likely to enjoy something when they had a say in the decision making. Once a week, sit down and make a meal plan for the week. Ask them what they might enjoy for school lunches. If they are too young to tell you, give them two options of each food group to choose from. For example, “Would you like an apple or a banana for your fruit?” Write down a list of the options each week and post it somewhere they can see it.

Go to the store together and purchase the items off the list. Designate an easy-to-reach shelf in the pantry or fridge for their “special” lunch foods. This way they can feel like they have input on what they’re eating each day. You can even ask them to help pack their own lunchbox. Organize snacks into categories based on their food group—such as fruits, granola bars, and cheese sticks—and have them pick one from each for a balanced meal.

2 – Pack it in style.

Today’s lunchboxes come in so many more varieties than the plain, brown paper bags of days gone by. Cute and easy-to-use options like bento boxes, animal-shaped thermoses, and even disposable packaging like squeezable yogurt packets make eating more fun. Packing each item in a separate container means your child can enjoy putting their lunch together on their own. When kids have a bunch of little lids to open each day, they’ll feel like there’s an easy-to-eat surprise in each one.

3 – Think beyond the sandwich.

While there’s no denying PB&J is a childhood favorite, anyone would get sick of having the same thing day after day. A boring lunch is one that goes uneaten. Instead, choose a variety of foods to keep it interesting while still packing a healthy punch. Cheese and crackers, ham roll-ups, pasta salad, and hummus and pita are all easy options that can be the main star of a healthy lunch.

4 – Create a theme.

Perhaps you don’t have time to make an elaborate animal face out of your kid’s sandwich, a la your favorite Pinterest board. But with a just a few little tricks, you can add some flair to delight your child at lunchtime. Use a simple heart cookie cutter to add a little love to sandwiches, or choose a theme for the day and see if your child can guess what it is. Include circle-shaped crackers, triangle-shaped cheese and cucumber circles. If your children guess “shapes,” offer a special treat when they come home. Create themes around the letters of the alphabet, favorite sports teams, or holidays.

5 – Send a little love.

Although mornings are hectic, it only takes a minute or two to write your kids a sweet lunchbox note. Send a riddle, joke, or just a message of love and slip it in their lunchbox, with a gentle reminder to finish their meal. A sign of love from home can go a long way in making mealtime fun.

6 – Model good eating habits.

Children learn from watching others. If you are modeling healthy eating behavior at home, eventually your child will pick up on it. It may take them a bit of time to get there, but have faith that they will.

During lunchtime at home, serve foods similar to what you might make for a school lunch. Talk about balanced eating with them and how each food group fits into their diet and improves their health. Don’t pressure them to eat certain things, just put them on the table and let them decide. Eventually, healthy eating will become second nature.

These creative tips might help get your child to eat their school lunch, but remember that most children go through phases with eating. Don’t put pressure on them to eat, just continue to pack a well-balanced lunch and eventually they will come around.

Ana Reisdorf is a registered dietician who writes for Walgreens, who enjoys sharing creative ideas and strategies to make mealtime fun and healthy. You can find a variety of vitamins to supplement a balanced diet for both children and adults at Walgreens.com. 


  1. ncjeepster

    Great ideas, I like something a little different everyday when I open my lunch bag too. I’m going to really put an effort into changing lunches to be more creative.

  2. Tamra Phelps

    Kids can definitely be picky. They find one thing they like and it’s all they want.

  3. larescoe

    These are great ideas, thank you for sharing! I would have loved all of these things when I was a kid, it makes lunchtime so much more fun!


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