The lunchbox of a fussy eater

The lunchbox of a fussy eater

The first term of my eldest son’s education is over. It was relatively smooth sailing. I wasn’t particularly worried about his transition to school. He’s social and smart but kind of lazy. Honestly I’ve no idea who he takes after!

The one thing I was worried about was school lunches. Not because I’d need to create a pinterest worthy lunchbox each day. Far from it. I was worried that I’d be shamed for packing a flavourless lunch for my fussy eater.

When the rather clever Kylie from Kidgredients asked for submissions to her Don’t Judge My Lunch series, I volunteered the biggest lad’s lunch box, almost in jest. Honestly, the lunchbox of a fussy eater is boring and doesn’t make for pretty pictures. To my surprise, Kylie wanted to include a picky eaters lunchbox in her series. You can read all about what’s in the biggest lad’s lunchbox here.

What’s in the lunchbox of a fussy eater?

The lunchbox I pack for the biggest lad is bland and sorely lacking in nutrients. It’s not colourful or pretty or even well balanced. Frankly, I don’t know how he eats it each day. But what I do know is that he eats it, mostly. I figure I need to pick my battles. The school lunchbox simply isn’t the right time or place. I have tried healthier options without any success. We’re talking about a kid who won’t eat his usual type of apples (pink lady only, it must be cold), when cut with a serrated, rather than smooth bladed, knife. It’s tedious!

The point of this? Don’t judge a kid’s lunchbox. There’s probably a reason the lunchbox is packed the way it is! Perhaps it’s not the lunch you’d send your child to school with. But that’s not important, what matters is that the child has a lunch that’s edible. It doesn’t have to be a lunch your child would eat. The only kid who needs to eat the lunch is the kid it was packed for. This parenting gig is hard enough, let’s not make it tougher by judging kid’s lunches!

What is the biggest challenge you have with packing school lunches? Have you ever noticed lunchbox shaming?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

24 thoughts on “The lunchbox of a fussy eater

  1. As an experienced mum my best advice to you on lunch boxes is get them involved in making it as soon as you can. Even if this means doing it the night before. Honestly I don’t care what my kids take to school for lunch and with the many limitations from all the allergies I don’t even try to argue or keep the kids lunch boxes healthy. My kids have been doing their own lunches for at least the last 2 full years. That includes making their own sandwiches and packing the snacks! I found that was the best thing I ever did in getting them to eat their lunch!

    I never judge lunch boxes because I typically know what is in my kids and it is probably the worst in the class and I have the most amount of time to make healthy treats (that my kids won’t eat!)

    1. Great advice Kit! He is involved in packing his lunch and he always eats what’s packed, the issue is that its just so bland and carb heavy.

      1. It is really hard to not worry especially after the lunchbox nazis that are in place at most daycare centres to let go of the worry about it being carb loaded. Seriously he will run it off at school playing plus remember it is only one meal a day and carbs are necessary for growth and development. School is a whole new ball game you will be all over by the time number 3 enters his final year lol it is a constantly moving feat!

      2. Claire in my head I had replied to you but clearly that only happened in my head, and probably wasn’t that interesting! I wouldn’t worry too much about the carb load! In the scheme of a week it is only 5 meals. So there are a huge number of meals that you can influence. Also at school he will run off all those carbs and he needs them to grow. Big hugs you are doing a great job!

  2. Pfft, I don’t care what other parents put in their kids lunch boxes. I’m of the same mind as you, as long as the kid it’s packed for eats it, that’s all that matters. I’m not going to to waste my time being all fancy when I know Punky just won’t eat it. She likes ham or vegemite sandwiches, strawberries, and yoghurt, so that’s what she gets. The few times I’ve tried giving her different things she’s come home hungry with a lunchbox full of food. I really don’t get lunchbox judgement!

    1. I agree entirely Kylie, I love this – I’m not going to to waste my time being all fancy when I know Punky just won’t eat it.

  3. My son pretty much eats the same thing every day – a wrap with avocado and sometimes with added ham, yogurt (or cheese and crackers if we’re out of yogurt), cucumber, an apple and a second piece of fruit. I used to occasionally add a baked treat but mostly they were left uneaten so now I don’t bother. He seems happy to eat the same foods day in day out so I just go with what seems to work. I’d love him to eat some more vegetables (hell, what parent wouldn’t!!) but I know they’ll still be there when I pick him up. Like you I’d rather know he has a full belly, I can always try to sneak some veggies in at dinner time 😜

    1. They seem to like the predicability of it. Maybe with so many new experiences at school they just want their lunch to be something they don’t need to think about?

  4. My two are at preschool were they get lunch (and snacks) provided, but my eldest is off to school next year and I fear her lunchbox will look very similar to your boy’s! She likes bread, cold (plain) pasta and mandarins. That’s about it this week!

  5. Love this! I blog about healthy eating and feel I can post 1 out of every 10 Lunchboxes I make. The kids eat beg for breakfast, but sending it for lunch just ends up being a waste of good food. Props to you for telling it like it is love x

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Stace! It’s refreshing to know that even those in the know have their challenges.

  6. My son once asked me “Why do I always have the exact same thing for lunch?” BECAUSE YOU DON’T EAT ANYTHING ELSE!!!!!

    Thank goodness he eats sandwiches and fruit, so his fussy eating does fly under the radar at school, it just means even if I wanted to make created lunches I really can’t. One time I drew a minion on his banana. That’s about as creative as my lunches can be.

  7. Mine aren’t too bad but neither are they particularly great. And I won’t lie and tell you I never feel inferior to the mums who bake everything. I often do.
    But I figure we do ok with dinner most nights of the week, and if I can get good stuff in there, a vegemite sandwich, an apple and a bag of tiny teddies isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    1. It’s weird isn’t it Jess that in the first world parent’s are judged on what’s in their kids lunch boxes. Yet in developing countries they’d be happy to have food to pack!

  8. I’m with you Claire. The school day is pretty demanding, so it’s not the place to fight battles about what to eat. They need to have a lunchbox full of things that they like and are reasonably good nutritionally. My sons never ate fruit at school and really don’t like it now they are teenagers. They preferred their vegemite sandwiches, a popper, and a few snacks. Sometimes I would get notes home from the teachers, but I just hoiked them straight in the bin. We could deal with vegetables and fruit on home turf much more easily than at school. Hang in there!

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Rachel, means a lot! I can’t believe notes would be sent home about your son’s lunchbox.

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