How to Pack School Lunches When You Have Picky Eaters

Do you struggle making school lunches for your picky eaters?

how to pack school lunches when you have picky eaters

Before I started MOMables (August 2011), I packed the same three or four lunches for my kids EVERY WEEK. Making their three “safe” school lunches was a lot easier than trying new things (for me, anyway).

If you asked me (then) what does your daughter eat? my answer would have been this: She doesn’t eat meat, or broccoli, or rice, or potatoes unless fried, no lettuce, no tomatoes, no peas, no corn, no yogurt, no berries, no bananas, no pears. Do you see my problem? I answered with the things she would not eat. 

It was ME focusing on the negatives (the things she didn’t eat) as opposed to the positive (the things she did eat)! I am telling you this because once I switched my thoughts and put the positive into action, things improved in the food department.

Two years later, she eats a lot more things. Okay, she still can’t tolerate rice, but she is eating meat, is willing to try one bite of any item, and ate peas for the first time in 5 years (somehow, she didn’t like them after the age of 2). 

What changed? I changed. 

Not only did I launch MOMables, but I also put my plans into action. I created “WILL-EAT-LISTS” for my oldest two (my picky ones).

Each week, I look at my meal plan for the week and look at the things that fall into the “will-eat” category. Sometimes, all I need to do is take out the avocado and add a little ham.

I used to feel like I was failing as a parent in the food department. Because I was focusing on the things they didn’t eat instead of the things they did (focusing on the negative instead of the positive). This led to me feeling bad about my efforts or like I was failing them. 

Some days, my daughter will not try my homemade bread, makes a gross face at many of our dinner foods, and turns her head at my homemade ice cream. A lot of times it hurts my feelings, but I just tell her she’s “missing out.”

Two years later, we are doing much better, and that says something. The big kids start school next week, and I’m excited to pack their lunches. We’ve made some progress this summer, and we’ve added a few more things to their “will-eat” lists.

So how exactly do I use MOMables school lunch menus  if I have kids who are picky eaters? I modify them. I often use them as inspiration to help me get started for that school lunch. She doesn’t eat apples, oh well, she eats peaches. She loves black olives, and my son won’t touch them. I give her extras and leave his out.

If your kids start school this week, see lunch packing as an opportunity to mix and match the things they will eat. If you need a little help and inspiration to put your “will-eat” lists into action, you can always check out our plans.

By the way, if you just purchased new lunch containers before school starts, you need to let your kids learn how to use them at home before they get to school. If you want to know which containers I recommend, check them out here  

Remember, it’s not about making your kids perfect little school lunches; it’s about doing the best you can with what have.

Happy Lunch Making,


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About MOMables - Laura

Mom to 3 awesome people and MOMables CEO. I work hard in my kitchen so you don't have to. I'm obsessed with tacos and coffee -not always in that order.