OT Clinical Services

Keeping School Lunches Interesting

It’s back-to-school season and children are heading to the classroom for a new school year filled with learning, growing, playing, and not to be forgotten, eating! School lunches and snacks are important opportunities for your child to eat and get the energy they need to learn and to participate in classroom activities. But if your child isn’t interested in the food in front of them, they might choose not to eat or may eat only small amounts, missing the chance to get the energy they need to keep going through the school day. Over time, your child might become bored with the foods they say regularly and you might see these returning home in their lunchbox at the end of the day.

Offering variety and making small changes to the food being offered can help with getting your child excited about what their lunchbox has each day. Consider the following tips to help keep packed snacks and lunches interesting this school year.

  • Include your child in the meal planning process. Take turns with your child to choose foods to pack each day, offering your child choices from available foods.
  • Try to avoid packing the exact same snack/lunch multiple days in a row. Rotate snack/lunch options day to day or make small changes in the way you offer the food each day. For example:
    • Use cookie cutters or slice foods in different way (long ways, short ways, chopped, etc.) for different shapes
    • Add food coloring to yogurt, applesauce, etc. for different colors
    • Offer dips with fruits, vegetables, or crackers for different flavors
    • Try dried or dehydrated fruits for different textures
  • Serve snacks/lunches with fun non-edible items like colorful silverware, shaped food picks, themed napkins, and/or cupcake liners as food holders.
  • Include a note with a joke, kind message, or fun fact about one of the packed foods in your child’s snack/lunch.

Including these tips in your everyday routine can help make school snacks/lunches fun and a positive experience for you and your child. If you have questions about your child’s eating and feeding habits, consider taking a look at our pediatric feeding services.

Do you have a young child that is a picky eater or needing help with feeding? Learn more about the Pediatric Feeding Services that we offer!