The question that plagues every mother: Is my child eating enough when they aren’t with me? Our maternal instincts go into overdrive if their lunchboxes come home from school or kindy with food left in them. Surely that must mean that our kids didn’t eat enough during the day. Or it can go the other way, if the lunchbox comes home empty then we worry that we didn’t put enough food in and they ate everything because they were so starving, and still are!
Here at Yumyumkids, one of the most common requests we get are for big lunchboxes. Parents want to make sure that their children are not hungry throughout the day. The temptation is always to put in one more snack, just in case.
The reality is that our children don’t need lunchboxes that are too big for an adult. They need an appropriately sized lunchbox for the size of their tummies. Something like a Yumbox is the perfect solution as the compartments allow for ideal portion control.
At most schools, the children will have to eat before they are able to go and play. A lot will be eager to speed through the lunch part, so they can get to the playing part faster. Make it easy for them to eat a good lunch. Pack their food in an easy to open lunchbox, with easily accessible snacks. If a container is too hard to open, or the food is too hard to eat, it will likely stay in the lunchbox uneaten.
If your children come home and eat everything in sight, don’t automatically assume it’s because you didn’t pack enough in their lunchbox. There could be a couple of reasons…
1. After school snacks might be more tempting than lunchbox snacks. If your kids get to come home and snack on treats, then they might hold out for this. Especially if the healthy snacks in their lunchbox don’t tickle their taste buds. Make sure they have plenty of healthy options after school, as well as in their lunchboxes
2. Bruised foods. Lunchboxes get rattled and bounced around inside school bags. If you pack a large lunchbox with too many items, then the fruit can become bruised and the sandwiches can get soggy. This results in unappetising food. No one likes to eat bruised bananas. Try packing less into their lunchbox to begin with if you get soggy and bruised leftovers returning home every day.
Think about how much your child will eat on the weekend, or during the school holidays when they are at home all day. Then think about what you are putting into their lunchboxes. Does it match up? Maybe you are packing their lunchbox with too much food, and that’s why it comes back half full. Think logically about the eating habits of your child when packing their lunch.
It can be so worrying if your child brings an almost-full lunchbox home from school with them. As parents we can leap to any number of conclusions, that they are picky eaters, that they have an issue with eating, or that they are being bullied. The answer could be much simpler. The easiest thing to do is simply to talk with your child and see if there are any issues. They may provide an explanation that takes the worry away.
If you are really worried about this topic, then take a step back from the day to day and look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is my child happy and healthy?
- Are they growing at the rate they should be?
If you have any concerns about your child’s health, then check with a medical professional. Otherwise, if they are healthy and growing well, then there isn’t cause for major concern.
Worrying about our children is what we parents do best. There will always be something to worry about. Worrying that they are eating enough is a big concern. But sometimes when we pack our children’s lunch, we set ourselves up to worry. If you are stuck for ideas on getting your child to eat at school, then check out our top tips blog here.
Know that you are not alone in this worry, every parent is scared they aren’t feeding their children enough!