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Getting Kids to Eat Their Lunch

How to Get Kids to Eat Their Lunch By Having Them Participate In What's Prepared

Once you send your child off to school with the lunch you've so carefully packed, how can you make sure that he'll actually eat what's been prepared? The solution is simple: Make him part of your lunch-prep process and make sure to include items that he wants to eat -- rather than trade!

Sandy Procter, a nutrition educator at Kansas State University, says you should include a variety of foods that appeal to your child's tastes. Have him participate in making his lunch -- if he does, he's more apt to pick foods that he'll eat.

And don't be afraid to experiment. For example, if peanut butter sandwiches feature prominently in the rotation, find ways to vary them with assorted jams and fruits, or a sprinkling of sunflower seeds, or coconut. And remember that kids outgrow certain tastes -- your child may be at the point where pizza becomes more appetizing than plain old pb&j.

If you've noticed that his lunch hasn't been eaten (or has been given away), try to find out why. Ask what didn't taste good or what wasn't appealing. Also, consider adding an occasional special treat -- or nonedible surprise, like a funny note hidden in his bag -- to keep your kid looking forward to his midday meal.

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CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

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