Preschoolers can be picky eaters… especially when they’re not home. Believe me, Mila can be one of them! During these first few weeks, I’ve found these 5 tips to help a preschooler eat their lunch at school.
1. Pick out a lunchbox they love.
Before preschool started, Mila never had to pack a lunch to go anywhere… besides when we went to picnics. I wanted her to be excited about lunchtime and knew that getting a lunchbox she loved would help.
We made it a special day to go pick her lunchbox. I didn’t really limit her to what she could or could not choose, but I’m so happy with the one she got too!
She picked a kids portioned Bentgo Box. It’s her favorite colors: pink and purple. It’s perfect!
Before she even went to her first day, she was eating out of her lunchbox. This helped her know how to open and close the box, get used to the portion sizes, and the opportunity to ask me questions about it. Any time I can take the uncertainty of something away from her, the better!
Here’s a few lunchboxes that I thought were amazing options too:
2. Include their favorite foods.
One of my biggest fears with Mila eating lunch at school is that she just won’t eat anything.
While packing her lunch, I let her help me pick out everything. Just by being able to have a choice in her favorite foods, she gets excited for lunch the next day. I make sure to add dessert in addition to healthy options.
When I know my favorite food is going to be served, I get way more excited to eat. There’s no difference for kids either.
Some of Mila’s favorite foods are:
- Any type of cookie or brownie (LOL)
3. Make food fun.
No matter how many favorite foods you add in your child’s lunchbox, their food can seem more enticing when you make it fun!
If your child is a sandwich eater, cutting them in different shapes can encourage your child to eat. I’ve been trying to cut shapes out with a knife, but it’s a lot easier if you use a cookie or sandwich cutter. There’s a ton of different options on Amazon you can easily find.
Other items that you might like to get to make their food fun are cartoon toothpicks and reusable bags.
Cartoon toothpicks are adorable. There are some eye toothpicks, so it looks like your food is looking at you. There’s also different types of animals and objects that your child will have fun identifying and seeing every day.
We love reusable bags here! I’ve bought ones with different sayings and images on it that Mila enjoys using.
Another option to make food fun is to have a themed lunchbox… princesses, dinosaurs, space. The options are seriously endless. There are so many cute ideas that you can find on Pinterest or just on the internet in general. I cannot wait to show you some of the ideas I have for Halloween week!
If you’re interested in looking some of items I talked about, I linked them here.
4. Leave them notes or messages.
One way I like to stay close to Mila is to write her a little note for lunch time.
Obviously, she’s only three and cannot read yet. Instead of writing words, I draw her hearts. We’ve always talked about how hearts mean love, so she immediately recognizes that. I know it makes her smile to see some love from mom and it lets her know that I’m thinking about her as well!
Even though I just use a post it notes for Mila, there are a ton of options for ones that are prewritten. They have cute designs and motivational sayings on them! I have a feeling I’ll buy them when she gets a little older for busy mornings or nights.
I love this idea for kids who might be having a hard time transitioning into school as well. A little note from home can really turn a child’s day around.
5. Check to see what works.
Sometimes, you can try all the advice above… and your child still doesn’t eat their lunch. It can be frustrating and worrying.
Believe me, I know!
Here’s a little story… since preschool started, Mila has only had one day where she hasn’t ate her lunch. It was packed with her favorite things, but there was one item she wasn’t so sure about. It made her not want to eat the entire lunch! Honestly, it worried me, but it was a good reminder to listen and really take in what your child says.
The next day, I literally had her tell me what she wanted and then added food I knew she loved too.
Just as everything with parenting, we have to learn what works best for our kid. Check in with them and let your child lead the way. They know their body and how they are at school. Especially when they have guidance from great parents like you.
I hope some of these tips help your child eat at lunch time!
As parents, it’s hard not to be proud of your child’s courage to go to school and to blossom into their person they’re becoming. Lunches are one way parents can show that pride and help them succeed in their day.
In the comments, let me know if you have any other suggestions on how to help other parents with their child’s lunches.