Healthy Bites Tip #3

Does your child’s lunch come home uneaten?
It takes about thirty seconds before I know if my youngest child has eaten her lunch. As soon as she sees me, she stomps over, and the tirade begins. When I open her lunch kit and find her uneaten sandwich, she wails, “I didn’t have time!”
There are many reasons why lunches come home uneaten—containers couldn’t be opened; distractions by other things happening in the classroom; difficulty transitioning from  play time or outdoor clothing; a shortage of close supervision; disliking their lunch foods. This is most common with kindergarten children, who are new to the school eating environment. As parents, there are some things you can do:
  • Make sure your child can open all their lunch containers.
  • Once your child is no longer “hangry”, see if they can tell you why their lunch was uneaten. Help them problem solve strategies to prevent it from happening again.
  • If uneaten lunches occurs regularly, bring it to the teacher’s attention—if they are aware of the problem, they may be able to check in with your child at lunch.
  • You can arrange to go to school and eat lunch with your child one day.
  • Finally, if your child’s lunch comes home uneaten, having them finish their lunch before offering snack foods is a good strategy to prevent children from “waiting for something better.”

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