Tips for Making School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat

Back-to-school means back to making school lunches.  Maybe your child has never eaten a packed lunch before or maybe you have tried (and failed) to pack a lunch your child will actually eat. Other moms who have grappled with the school lunch dilemma in the past have come up with some solutions proven to work.  Check them out and see what works for your family to make sure your kid comes home with an empty lunchbox and a full tummy at the end of the day.

school lunches
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  • If your child has never eaten packed lunches before spend some time trying out options at home. Serve potential school lunches, like a cheese sandwich with pretzels and cucumbers, at home one day and peanut butter and honey sandwich with baby carrots and hummus the next day. Watch what she eats and what she does not. What is left on her plate at home will be left in her lunchbox at school.
  • If your child insists on something like Lunchables but you don't want to buy them, make a home-made version that can be as easy as packing up some cut-up cheese and crackers.
  • Make lunch fun by cutting up sandwiches with cookie-cutters and packing snacks in cupcake holders. 
  • Kids will usually eat some hot foods they like cold as well. Don't shy away from packing cold pizza (store-bought or homemade) or cold quesadillas.  
  • Pack a little bit of a lot of different things and see what comes back home and what gets eaten. Over time you will figure out what your child likes and you can eat whatever comes home so it doesn't go to waste.  
  • Figure out your child's preferences. Some children insist on the exact same type of sandwich every day. Offer options, but if you have a go-to that you know your child will eat there is nothing wrong with repetition. On the other hand, if your child prefers variety come up with a rotating list of 5-10 options and stick to a schedule to keep things simple.
  • Remember that the most important thing is that your child eats. If your child eats just cheese and crackers every day for school lunch, it's not the end of the world. You can always make sure her other meals are more varied as long as she is eating lunch and is ready to learn and play.

Bon appetit!

Do you have any secrets for successful school lunches? Share in the comments!

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Tips for Making School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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