This topic is inspired by my second grader, Kevin. Tuesday, Kevin came home with a note from his teacher informing me that Kevin has been throwing out his lunch every day. The offending food? A turkey sandwich.
When your children are at home, it's easy to control what they eat. While they may not like what you make, you have the authority to make them stay at the table until they are done.
What do you do when they are at school, out of your reach?
Offer them choices. It may be a chore to take your kids to the grocery store, but they will be more likely to eat what you send for lunch if they feel they had a say in the decision. Don't ask open-ended questions such as "what would you like to bring for lunch"? You're unlikely to get answers you're happy with. Instead, pick a few items that you are happy with and let them choose.
Get creative. Sometimes, it's presentation that matters more to kids than content. Cut sandwiches into funny shapes, make up a creative name for it, whatever. Think like a kid.
Use dips. Kids love to dip food. Send in yogurt, salsa, hummus, dressing, whatever your child will eat with fresh vegetables or fruits.
Let your child help make their lunches, if they are old enough.
Don't assume that because your child liked something last week that they will this week. Change up their meals frequently. This is the mistake I made with Kevin. He had eaten turkey sandwiches all summer, so I assumed he still would.
The most important thing you can do, though, is to be a role model. After all, they look to you for direction!