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How to get your kids to bring home empty lunch boxes

Cat and mouse healthy lunch box, fun food art for kidsWhen you go the effort of planning and packing a balanced and fresh lunch box for your kids, you want to see it come home empty!

A piece of fruit, a sandwich, a drink and maybe something with a bit of crunch.

But there’s nothing more disheartening than sending your children off to school with lots of food, only to see their lunch box return largely untouched when they (hopefully!) unpack it at home.

4 ways to help ensure your kids eat their lunch

Get your kids involved in the preparation

Instead of lunchboxes being your daily duty, why not get your kids involved? Purchase some kid-safe knives and ask them to help you cut up fruit and veg for their lunchboxes. Getting them involved means they’re more likely to eat what’s inside.

Use Zebra sandwiches

Start off small when making the switch from white to wholemeal bread. Introduce the change slowly with one brown piece and one white piece to make Zebra Sandwiches. You can also freeze bread to keep it fresh for lunch. No one likes a stale or soggy sandwich.

Give kids ‘guided’ choice by using colour

Giving your kids guided choice on what to pack helps ensure you won’t have a lunchbox with a few too many sometimes foods. Try something along the lines of … “We need something green in your lunchbox today, would you like cucumber or celery?”. This gives kids choice, but it’s a guided choice.

Push past points 3 & 4

Did you know that it takes around 20 offerings to get young kids to try a new food and then maybe about another 20 tries for them to like it? With older kids this can get to upwards for 50 times.
So don’t give up offering a new food after three or four tries, stop counting and keep on trying.

Getting kids involved is a proven way to get their buy in with trying our colourful foods like fruit and veggies. Don’t be disheartened if you packed a beautiful lunch box and it didn’t work out the first or second or even 10th time. Sometimes kids just aren’t hungry and food might come home simply for that reason.

Here’s a tried and tested lunch box recipe that you might like to try…

Nacho Wraps are a huge lunch box hit with my four kids. Get your kids involved in mixing up the ingredients and putting their own wrap together. Encourage them to make it as colourful as possible.

I even divide up the ingredients into little shopping lists and ask my kids to look out for them as we make our way down the aisles at supermarket. Enjoy!

Nacho Wraps

Nacho Wraps<p>


  • 4 slices mountain bread
  • 1/3 cup grated low fat cheese


  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon light sour cream
  • ½ lime or lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander
  • sweet paprika
  • ½ clove garlic (optional)


  • 125g can red kidney beans
  • 125g can salt-reduced corn
  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ red capsicum
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce


  1. Peel and mash avocado
  2. Juice lime or lemon
  3. Chop coriander
  4. Add lime, coriander, a pinch of paprika and sour cream to avocado and mix
  5. Spread avocado dip (guacamole) over mountain bread
  6. Drain four bean mix and corn. Discard liquid
  7. Dice red capsicum and tomatoes
  8. Mix together red kidney beans, red capsicum, corn, tomatoes and sweet chilli sauce
  9. Place the bean salsa in a line at the bottom of the mountain bread, leaving a 4cm edge of plain bread around all sides
  10. Top with grated cheese
  11. Fold in the sides and the bottom of the bread
  12. Roll to enclose filling
  13. Cut wrap in half

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