If you follow my Instagram feed you might incorrectly assume that my kids are great eaters and aren’t picky at all. Truth is, each of my kids is picky in their own way. They all eat raw carrots, cucumbers, and cooked broccoli, but each of them eats varying amounts of meats and sauces, and you can just forget about putting a bowl of soup in front of any of them. That said, I attribute eating school lunch as the single biggest influence in my kids being less picky. Here are the four reasons I choose school lunch for my picky eaters and why you might want to consider it also:
1. Peer pressure.
My kids see the kids around them eating (and liking) foods that they wouldn’t normally try and that influences them to at least try the item and often find out they like it. My 9-year-old has even mentioned that he doesn’t want to be known as a picky kid, so he will try a greater variety of food in public than in our home.
2. Adults who are not the parent.
It is a common thing that kids behave better for adults who are not their parents. It all comes down to consistency, and kids know when and how to push their parents. Many parents admit having a hard time sending their kid to bed hungry after refusing their dinner, so in a final effort to fuel their bodies, the parent will offer the kid a snack. At school lunch, the parent isn’t there and no backup lunch will be provided. The lunch ladies aren’t going to pull a pb&j out of their pocket for little Johnny after refusing his lunch, as his mom might have done at home. This non-parent adult has an opportunity with the child that a parent might not.
3. No other option.
Once kids understand that school lunch is their only option to eat that day they will be more likely to try things they normally wouldn’t or to eat things that aren’t necessarily their favorite.
4. It is easy.
With the millions of details us moms need to manage in a day, I am happy to remove the task of packing lunch from my plate.
Each day I ask each child what was for lunch and what they ate. There are days where my kids only eat an apple and milk, but there are days when they come home and announce that they tried and LIKED Salisbury steak. I make sure to make a big deal of celebrating when they do try new foods and telling them how proud I am. I also continually remind them of the science which says that oftentimes a person needs to be exposed to a flavor at least 6 times before developing a taste for it, so I remind them to keep trying the stuff they don’t think they like, because one day it might change.