Welcome to my house of picky eaters, myself included!
The saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is so true. Everyone in my own family has different food likes and dislikes: from hamburger eater to non-eaters, tomato lovers to naysayers, to sushi lovers and won’t go near it!
In fact, a couple of weekends ago while one of my sons was spending the night at grandma and grandpa’s house, the rest of my family went to a sushi boat restaurant so the 4 sushi lovers in our house could eat to their hearts’ content.
Just getting children to try foods they never have can often be a challenge. When we were in Hawaii this summer, we ate lots of Hawaiian food, since both my husband, Dan, and I love island loco-moco. There was no way we were eating anything else.
The first night we went to a local Hawaiian restaurant, all three of our boys ordered non-Hawaiian foods: hamburger, grilled cheese and fried fish. I had each of our boys taste my delicious beef teriyaki — just a tiny bite — and they were hooked!
School lunchrooms are no different. My children bring their own lunch to school, as it is a rare treat for them to buy lunch at school. Again, Jack, Drew, and Aiden each have different likes for their “main dish.” However, I must confess Drew is the easiest and will typically eat any kind of sandwich I pack for him.
Jack, on the other hand, brings new meaning to the word “picky” and the same goes for Aiden! Jack likes deli style bread with only salami and mustard. He will eat this every day of the week. Aiden likes sandwiches, but they have to be on croissants. Of course, for Jack and Aiden there are a few other food exceptions. Sound familiar?
The age-old question I hear from parents constantly in my role, as teacher seems to pertain to getting children to eat their lunch at school. So often, children don’t eat the lunch their parents pack for them, and their lunch comes home after a long day of learning with almost nothing gone.
As a mom to very picky and different eaters, as well as a teacher, I have many ideas that I use with my own children to offer changes to what I usually pack. Consider some of these suggestions for your own picky eaters:
- Bagel, either with cream cheese, Nutella, peanut butter (if allowed at your child’s school), pumpkin butter or even plain.
- “Mommy Lunchables” (as we call them in our house, since they are healthier than the “real” thing which often is loaded with trans fat and saturated fats), simply use crackers, meat cut up into small pieces — you could even use small cookie cutter shapes to make eating fun, and cheese.
- Mini tacos or taquitos, which can be bought frozen and later eaten cold by children.
- Pizza — who doesn’t love leftover pizza, which is often even better cold the second day?
- Nutella sandwich.
- Cheese stick and yogurt combined with other filling foods also offer a great option with lots of calcium and protein.
- Soup heated up in the morning and put into a thermos.
It’s time for parents of picky eaters to unite in the fight to get our kids to eat their lunch at school. By offering even the pickiest of children some other options besides the same-old peanut butter sandwich each day, perhaps we are opening up their willingness to try new foods just a tiny bit more.