My 5yr old refuses to eat lunch at school...need advice pls!

SANDRA - posted on 01/03/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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He won't eat cold cuts, PB&J, plain jelly sandiches (he used to-now he says he doesn't like them). If I put anything in a thermos (like chicken nuggets, soup, raviolis, hot dogs, etc.), it's not warm enough for him to eat by the time lunch comes around. Help! I don't want him to starve at lunch and I feel by just giving him crackers and/or pretzels that I'm not giving him a good lunch. I tried getting him to take a bite out of a ham or turkey sandwich and he nearly vomited. I totally think he has it in his head to not "like" it because we're pushing him to eat cold lunches. I don't know what to do anymore. He's not only like this with the temperature of the food but, also with his overall palette. I suppose that topic should go on a different post.

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My son is 6 and pretty much like this as well. I always get so stressed trying to search for things he will eat and make them look nice for him. I get up early to make it and then he comes home with it all there or I find out he gave it away and I just want to cry. He will not try new things and also acts like they make him gag.

What I started doing is I made a list of the things HE WILL eat and hang it on the fridge to try to help me preparing his lunch better. My son will eat some lunch meat, pretzels, crackers like your son so I just cut them up and put them in a little container like a homemade lunchable and he does like that. He also likes strawberries, cucumbers and carrots so I can switch those around.

Trust me I know how you feel bc they are in school all day they need the energy and we want them to eat. I try to tell my son he better eat or his teacher will tell me if he does not, etc so he will. I still never really know if he ate it, gave it away or threw it away.

Ariana - posted on 01/03/2013

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Like I said, if he refuses to eat the lunch don't give him any snacks. He can either eat what's left of his lunch or wait until dinner. That way he knows he either eats (or at least tries to eat some of) his lunch or he's not going to get snacky food. He can't not eat lunch then come home and have snackfood.

Try to involve him in making his lunch and choosing healthy foods that he likes. So if you know he likes a certain type of meat (or w/e) try to involve that in his lunch at least once during the week. And if you give him food in the thermos that usually he would like but he just refuses to eat it then that's his problem. If he doesn't eat his lunch then he doesn't get snacks when he gets home, just like you said. He can eat the rest of his lunch if that's the case. Just don't make a big deal of it or anything.

SANDRA - posted on 01/03/2013

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Thx for the feedback but, yes, I know he won't necessarily starve but I feel that he's not getting the right nutrition if he's not eating a decent lunch 5 school days out of the 7. He comes home from school and wants several snacks almost immediately because he's hungry since he skipped lunch.
We encourage him to try things because I've heard that sometimes after a few tries, kids end up liking the food. And I don't want to discourage him from trying things. The problem with him is that he refuses to try it and automatically turns it down. I don't force him to eat, just willing him to try it.
I would be up for giving him snacks to hold him over until dinner but his snack palette only calls for pretzels, chips, cookies, and froot loops. He won't eat cheese unless it's on pizza.

Ariana - posted on 01/03/2013

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You can try to involve him in the lunch-making process, or have him tell you what he wants a few of the lunches to be, what fruit he wants in it (or w/e). Why is he being forced to eat sandwhiches if he doesn't like it? I'm not saying you have to give him everything he wants but maybe you could give him the things he needs without forcing him to eat stuff he doesn't like.

I used to hate sandwhiches, as well as cold cuts, so my mom would give me peices of cut up sausage (the big ones) and cheese peices, a peice of fruit, and a snack and maybe vegetables or something. Of course at my dads house I used to make my own lunch for school which usually consisted of leftovers, crackers, and cookies, maybe a plum or yogurt or something.

Give him things he likes but that are healthy and involve the main food groups. So if he doesn't like cold cuts give him some other meat he likes. If it's food he likes but it's to cold for him well to bad.

I would try to have him help in the process of making lunches some of the time, so he can have some say in what he gets, but otherwise just ignore it. You might even say that if he doesn't eat at least most of his lunch then that's what he can have for snacks until dinners ready. So he can't go eating snack food unless he's eaten what he got rid of, he can even heat it up. Of course once dinners over the lunch things over but just don't let him refuse to eat that food and then get snacky food later to fill himself up.

Try not to make a big deal out of it though like you're getting him in trouble, it's just the way it is. You eat your lunch or you don't, doesn't matter. He's not going to starve because he didn't eat lunch.

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