Photo Credit: Primarily Paleo
Does feeding your children nutritious food feels like a full-time job? This is true for many families. It involves time to plan meals, to grocery shop and to get food on the table, as well as to take into consideration each child’s food preferences and energetic needs. For many parents, this can be overwhelming. One client of mine shared that she was complaining to a fellow Mom about how irritating it was to have to pack lunch for her three school-aged children. Then she realized how sad this actually was because all it involved was taking food from a box and putting it into little plastic bags. The bottom line is: you are not alone in your quest to make packing a lunchbox less of a chore, while also increasing the nutritional value of the foods offered to your child on a daily basis.
One of my favorite things about lunch boxes is that they provide an opportunity for the process I describe as “edible exploration”– meaning your child can discover how the food looks, feels, smells, and tastes. Kids are incredibly visual, and are often turned off by the sight of a food based on how it is cut or what color it is. We can take advantage of this in the lunch box by providing them with different visual presentations of the same foods over the course of the school year (without a lot of effort on your part, I promise). Many suggest it takes a child 15 exposures before they will like a food, others argue it takes around 100 times. Either way, offering a variety of foods through your packed school lunch will get them used to seeing the foods we want them to eat, such as more vegetables. They are even more likely to try the foods when they are hungry earlier in the day.
One of my favorite children’s books, Sylvia’s Spinach, highlights how a picky eater can love the food she thought she hated. Your kids will love it too and they can follow Sylvia’s method for trying a new food: touch it, smell it, lick it, taste it.
I won’t share all my tips and tricks to inspire you for packing a healthy lunch box here in this post. However, I invite you to attend The Healthy Lunchbox Workshop on Monday December 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm in the Leschi neighborhood in Seattle. You can register here to secure your spot, as space is limited. Please contact me to schedule an individual program to assist your family in developing healthy food habits, including lunch box guidance, pantry stocking, and meal planning.