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How to Pick a Lunch Your Child Will Eat

How to Pick a Lunch Your Child Will Eat

When you empty your child’s backpack do you find that it contains only one or two bites less than it did when you sent it in the morning?  Or perhaps you find that not a thing in the lunch box was even touched.  Certainly you lament over why all of your efforts to send your child with a healthy lunch have gone to waste.

The best way to get your child to eat is to let him be involved in the process.  Have you tried asking him what he would like to pack in his lunch box?  A few nights ago my granddaughter spent the night with me on a school night, which is an unusual circumstance for us.  I took her to the grocery store and let her decide what we would pack in her lunchbox.  With just a slight bit of negotiation, we ended up with a roast beef sandwich (ok, I gave in to the white bread), a container of cut cantaloupe, a cup of yogurt, and a small bag of Doritos.  While it’s not nutritionally perfect, it is nutritionally complete because it contains all of the essential nutrient groups.  And because she chose it, made the sandwich herself, and packed it, it was reported that her lunchbox came home mostly empty.  To get your child to eat what’s in the lunchbox:

1.     Ask your child what he or she wants to pack

2.     Be flexible in letting him choose while ensuring good nutrition

3.     Let your child prepare and pack the food, with supervision


Here are some tips to break up the monotony of a lunch meat or peanut butter sandwich.  Add a carton of low-fat milk and these meals are nutritionally complete.


1.    Baked tortilla chips, bean dip, low-fat cheddar cheese chunks, grapes (All kids like chips and dip.  This is far superior to the nachos with processed

cheese sauce served in school cafeterias.)


        2.   Whole wheat tortillas spread with hummus and rolled up with lean roast beef or turkey, shredded low-fat cheddar cheese and lettuce, clementines.  (Store tortilla roll-up in aplastic container. Avoid plastic wrap to prevent sogginess).


3.    Pasta salad – cooked spiral pasta, diced chicken, and any veggies your child likes – we like celery for crunch and frozen peas.  Toss with low-fat Italian salad dressing.  Yogurt with sliced strawberries.


4.      Mix chunky peanut butter with raisins and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Serve with whole grain crackers and apple slices.


5.       Fill a small plastic container with hummus.  Serve with celery sticks, baby carrots, and cucumber slices.  Add a slice of whole wheat bread with a

slice of low-fat cheddar cheese.

Nancy Hintze

About the author

Nancy Hintze, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, began her career as a Foods and Nutrition teacher in Lehi, Utah in 2003. At the time she began teaching middle school students about nutrition, she weighed 286 pounds. She quickly became aware that if she expected her students to believe her, she had to be an example of what she taught. Over the course of the next several years, as she eliminated 125 pounds by changing what she ate and how she cooked, Nancy became passionate about sharing her healthy lifestyle keys with her students and their families. Along the journey of her transformation, she also became an avid chef with a zest for good old fashioned food preparation with a modern twist – healthy ingredients and ease of preparation.

Nancy is a licensed Family and Consumer Sciences teacher as well as a certified L.E.A.N Health Coach. She has developed and produced Community Nutrition Fairs, mentored students in the Fuel Up to Play program and accompanied one of her students to represent Utah in the National Fuel Up to Play summit in Washington, D. C. In addition, she has coached individual clients to achieve greater levels of personal wellness. And now we have the privilege of announcing Nancy as our very own Culinary Nutritionist here at Reams.

When she’s not sharing her passion for great eating with others, you can find her in her vegetable garden, or knitting or sewing, reading a great novel, hanging out with one of her 21 grandchildren or on the road in the RV that she and her husband love to travel in.