Page 27 - Alaska Parent Spring 2021
P. 27

By Brianna Rodriguez
I love food – colorful food, flavorful food and exotic food. My children, however, are the pickiest eaters I know. The blander, the better. As packing lunches became a routine, the lunches became boring and predictable. I wanted my kids to eat healthy, nutritious lunches, but there was no guarantee they wouldn’t trade at the lunch table – or worse, toss unwanted foods. If you share my struggle, here are some tips to prepare lunches that the kids won’t just eat – they’ll be excited to eat them!
My first grader hates vegetables. Imagine that. When she went back to school, I didn’t want to send her with produce when I knew she would just destroy the evidence in the nearest garbage bin. We sat down together and had a conversation about nutrition. We talked about why vegetables are important, and I gave her a list of vegetables she could choose from to add to her lunches after I explained that at least one vegetable would be added each day. She chose three vegetables to start with: carrots, celery and cucumbers. It was when I brought her into the conversation that she became a part of the process and took ownership of the outcomes. We purchased the groceries together and she helps
me prep her lunches with plenty of vegetables and zero complaints. Win!
We know that a child’s palate is not one-size-fits-all. My son likes cheese sticks, but my daughter won’t touch them. She loves melon but
he prefers bananas. I’m not saying children should dictate what they eat
all the time, but like you and me, they likely won’t eat some things if they have a choice. No one at the lunch table is going to make them eat their broccoli, so pick food options you know they will enjoy and save the broccoli for dinner.
When we go to a restaurant, the first thing we notice is not how the food tastes but how it is presented to us. Organizing lunches is an easy art to master with a Tupperware container or bento box that will fit into their lunchbox. It’s not unusual for children to not want some if not all of their food to touch. Use colorful cupcake liners to contain smaller items like nuts, crackers, or treats to give it a fun, finished look.
Kids love surprises. Alternate foods from food groups by trading berries on one day and bananas the next or swap a PB&J for a chicken salad sandwich. Use fun cookie cutters to turn sandwiches into butterflies and stars or whatever shape your child will like. Pop in a treat or send them a heartfelt note
that will make their day special. If your children are older and pack their own lunches, you can sneak these
in before they run off to school. Pro tip: Fill out a sticky note pad with some loving messages to your child in advance. When you’re in a hurry, you will always have a happy note to stick in their lunch box. Keep them guessing and make lunch something to look forward to!
spring 2021 alaska parent 27
Brianna Rodriguez with her kids Kira, age
6, and David, age 5.
Frozen Moments Photography

   25   26   27   28   29