Family Lunch Box - Feeding Your Hungry Child
Contributed by: David Scott
"What do you mean you don't want to eat it? It's food, isn't it?"
That quote is from a 6-year-old to his sister, who was 9, from
many years ago-just the way my mother remembered it.
I suggest it demonstrates that some children are fussy about their food, others are extremely fussy and many will happily eat whatever is put in front of them. It's a fact of childhood.
Dealing with the differences from child to child is a fact of
parenthood. And the eating problem is particularly concerning
when it comes to carry-along lunches that many parents send to
school with their youngsters every day.
An obvious response is to send a favorite lunch, day after day.
(That may lead to an odd syndrome: I recall the mother of a
7-year-old telling me her son had never eaten anything except
peanut butter sandwiches. She was amazed that I had just
persuaded the boy to eat a slice of tomato.)
There are, however, other ideas that will help the child develop
better eating habits and enjoy nutritional variety. Assuming the
child has no reason to dislike the lunches you make, his or her
reluctance to eat it can probably be overcome. Try this:
Put a list of sandwiches on the fridge door Saturday morning
and ask your children to select the five they would like for next
When you are making the lunches, each weekday evening, offer
the children a chance to help, as a family production line. One
child can make the filling, another butter the bread, another wrap
and pack the finished product-assuming you have enough
children to go round. It's just another chance for you to make
routine household chores "fun" rather than dreaded "work."
Of course your hope will be that the lunch will be more
acceptable and likely to be eaten if each child has played a role
in the planning and production of it. You might also ask the small
fry to suggest "treats" they would like you slip into the lunch box
from time to time.
David Scott is author of The Sandwich-a-Day Recipe Book, an
ebook based on Family Lunch Box, a popular newspaper
column published during the 1980s and 90s. For more free
sandwich recipes or to buy a copy of the ebook, visit