Packing school lunches can be stressful for parents (and their kids). You might feel pressure to pack the 'perfect healthy' lunch. Lunches don't need to be perfect!
Dr. Daisy & Co.'s 3 Tips for Packing Your Child's Lunchbox
1. What to Pack:
Let's keep it simple. Start with your basic components of a packed lunch: a main (e.g., a sandwich or anything else entree-like about that size), a fruit &/or vegetable (if they'll eat it) and 1-3 sides (depending on how much food they need), which could be a salty-crunchy snack, something sweet/fun, a bar, dairy (yogurt, cheese), nuts/seeds/trail mix, milk or juice. Next, sit down with your child to create lists of food items for each category. Put the lists on your fridge for easy reference (this is your shopping list too). The lists will change as food preferences change so make new lists every couple of months. Side note: Don't hesitate to pack perishables - use ice packs (double up if needed).
2. How Much to Pack:
Since we are training young intuitive eaters, the best way to figure out how much to pack is by asking your child, "How was lunch today? Did it feel like the right amount? Too much? Not quite enough?" Get feedback. Add or subtract sides as needed.
3. Who Should Pack:
There's a couple of reasons why we think that parents should be in charge of packing their kids' lunch. First, it's a great way for parents to express love during a noisy and chaotic lunch period. Second, meal planning (which includes lunch box packing) requires decision making and executive functioning skills that some kids lack. It can be a stressful job. If your child is already in charge of packing his or her own lunch and it's working well, no need to change anything. But, if lunch packing is stressful or lunches are often lacking, we recommend that you take lunches off their chore list and replace that chore with something else.
*** What about school lunch? Dr. Daisy's kids buy school lunch every day. If you teach your child intuitive eating, they can thrive on school lunch - it's a great alternative to packing lunches and one less thing to do every morning.