Byline: Sara Bradford
It’s back-to-school and everyone is thinking about lunchbox packing. Which lunchbox vessels to buy, what ideas you can come up with, and how you’re going to send a lunchbox that comes home empty.
While an exciting time for many of you and the chance to return to routine, the lunchbox brings up a range of emotions that is unique to anything I’ve seen as a nutritionist. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE when you are a parent that gets to pack A Picky Eater Lunchbox.
There is a very good chance you have a particular someone in your home that’s going to make packing lunches a challenge, that will test your patience beyond supermom capabilities. What about our “picky eaters” that just won’t eat anything we want them to eat? What then?
Well, you see…the picky eater (as we call them) are just little creatures with undeveloped palates. And it frustrates us to all heck when we feel they have control over this food thing. But perhaps that is where we’ve gone wrong. Perhaps we must all make an attitude shift. And instead remind ourselves of the reason they eat this way. And how to prevent it from making us crazy.
This is where I use my “very-experienced-lunchbox-building-nutritionist-mama” advice that COULD possibly change your life.
Focus On What They Will Eat!
Yeah, instead of wasting all that energy on why they don’t eat broccoli, praise them for eating green beans. Instead of turning inside out because they turn their nose up at chicken, hide some lentils in their homemade muffin.
And please stop saying to yourself that you HAVE to give them baloney sandwiches because it’s one of the only 5 things they’ll eat. Guess what, your list just got shorter…and easier!
Here are FIVE special ways to pack a picky eater lunchbox – that may even make you stop using the words “picky eater”.
#1: Master List
Make a master list of ALL…and I mean ALL the foods your simple-palated lovely likes to eat. You will be AMAZED at how long this list actually is.
#2: Skip The Crap Food (like baloney)
Part of developing a palate is “un-developing” a taste for the bad foods. I taught a workshop once on the sense of taste at a YMCA. I was SHOCKED to discover kids there who thought the (rather unbearably) “sweet” tasting water was nothing but water. They consumed so much sugar that it tasted like nothing. This is easy to change once sugar is removed or reduced.
#3: Hide Stuff In Stuff
Eventually they’ll try new things. Just not yet. In the meantime, get that nutrition INTO them by adding pureed vegetables, fruits, beans, or whatever into what they will eat.
Example: My daughter, picky-eater-extraordinaire, eats chili (of all things). You’d be amazed at what I can hide in there. It’s awesome.
#4: Empower Them
Let them choose the vegetable you pack in the lunchbox. Or ask them what fruit they want today. Don’t be crazy-mom and ask what their choice of protein is – work with what they understand. (Do you want cheese or hummus?)
#5: Substitute Good For Better
They want chocolate milk? Give them raw milk with homemade chocolate syrup – or even give dairy-free milk alternatives a go. They want cooked carrots? Slather them with some kind of high quality fat. They want a banana muffin? Make it with fresh ground spelt flour with pureed lentils, natural sweeteners and hippy chocolate chips.
And continue to inspire. Don’t be a fuss-pot yourself. Try new things in front of them. Their curiosity will be piqued.
Most of all, know that you are doing just fine. You’ll both be laughing about this over raw oysters and kombucha in 15 years. Happy Back-To-School! xo
Sara Bradford is owner/founder of Nourish ~ Real Food and a registered holistic nutritionist. She gets asked time and time again how she maintains her lunchbox enthusiasm. But, somewhere along the line, she was blessed with a burning desire to create the most healthy, delicious, colourful lunch boxes for her kids – and decided to take her years of experience as a Holistic Nutritionist and shower you with healthy lunchbox recipes.
On her site, you can find Sara’s lunchbox blog, her upcoming Think Inside the Lunchbox e-book, Lunchbox Kitchen TV videos, and check out her upcoming 30-Day Lunchbox Building Challenge and sign-up for her free newsletter.