The Diary of Joni and Anya

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Lunch Box Dilemma

Dairy Australia is encouraging parents to be more keen on what they put in their kids school lunch boxes. The Kids Need 3 (serves of dairy a day) program is something that we diligently practice here at home since I became aware of its importance. And your family should too! Especially if you have a growing and active kid like Anya.

One of the best ways to guarantee that kids get their 3 serves of dairy a day is to incorporate it in their lunch boxes. I know how this is easier said than done. There are times in my 6 years of doing this task, that what I pack, returns home uneaten. 

Foremost is to determine what is the cause of this frustrating occurrence. Here are some common issues & tips on how to deal with them.

The lunch box style: your child may have an issue with their lunch container. They might prefer a brown paper bag or want the latest fashion in lunch boxes to be like the other kids. It may be difficult for them to open.
Fuel Pack from Tupperware, EASY to open.
WANT to WIN this pack?  Then read on below.

This rang true for me years ago when Anya started in a new school and snacks and lunch were taken outside the classroom. With her hands full holding her crutches, it was tricky to take her food out (which were in plastic containers). The solution was simply a lunchbox with a strap that she puts on across her body. She was able to take her snacks & drink outside and join her mates.

It is also wise to pick containers that your child can handle opening & closing on their own. Why not practice and let them show you that they can?

Boredom: try to pack a different lunch every day. For younger children, cut the sandwiches in different ways to add interest: for example triangles, squares or strips. You could even use one slice of white and one slice of brown to make a ‘zebra’ sandwich. You could even add a little message from you in their lunchbox to brighten their day, and their lunch if they're not going to be happy with what you snuck in.

I often surprise Anya with her favorite sushi for lunch. She will beaming at school pick-up saying I tricked her into believing she's having her usual Strasbourg-Cheese sandwich. I have a friend who puts post-its on her kids' boxes with jokes & fun facts written on it. Cool!

Too dry: if they say the filling is too dry, try leaving a sandwich uncut. Some fillings like dips or cream cheese may stay fresher this way. If your child's appetite seems small, offer smaller servings. For example, half a sandwich might be more appropriate than a whole one.

I did notice that Anya only eats half of her sandwich at the start of the term. I tried slicing the sandwich into two triangles after reading an article about how sandwiches cut this way are psychologically more tasty. At first I only pack one of the triangles. Then after a few days, Anya requested the other half as well. It was true!

Make other meals count: if your child hardly eats anything from their lunch box despite your best efforts, try to at least ensure they have a nutritious breakfast and dinner that includes a serve of dairy at each meal occasion. Trust that your child will eat when hungry.  

Don't sweat the small stuff. There will be days when your child just doesn't feel like eating, as much adults do. I rarely stress about it when it happens on occasion. But I start asking questions when it happens like 3 days in a row so I can address the problem (which are often any of the points above).

Thanks to Porter Novelli & Dairy Australia, we are giving away one Tupperware Fuel Pack to a lucky reader. Just fill up the form below, head to Dairy Australia's website to get more Healthy Lunch Box Tips and let us know which dairy product do you include in your child's lunchbox to fuel them for the day? This giveaway is open to Australian residents only and ends March 20, 2013.

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