Are your kids fond of returning from school with their lunch box and untouched food? I know that this is one scenario we mums are very familiar with.

That said, here are 6 sure ways to how to handle it:

1.     Make It More Colourful

From their water bottles to their food flasks to their lunch bags, get creative, switch up the colour tones.

Children are attracted to and excited by a burst of vibrant colours.

They are kids. What could be keeping them from finishing their meal could be something as trivial as their friend’s lunchbox being more colourful.

You should also try making their food more exciting by plating it more stylishly or ensuring that one plate houses their main meal and their dessert.

Also consider adding fruits like pear, apples, mango, tangerine, etc.

2.     Reduce The Meal Portions

A friend who once walked these shoes told me that all she did was reduce the meal portions, and everything changed.

A simple breakdown will show: they have breakfast before going to school, then eat in school around 10 am then snacks at 12 noon, then lunch around 1.30 pm to 2 pm.

Do you see how much food they’re being confronted with?

Plus, it could be that your child just likes water and takes lots of it (thanks to the heat too) so he’s unable to finish all his meals.

If you’re unsure whether the food portion you serve your child is too much for his/her age, you can liaise with their teacher to find out the right amount of food.

You might not have the opportunity to see the meal portions other mums serve their kids, but their teacher does.

Besides, they have a fair experience dealing with children and are in a better place to tell you if the school lunch is too much or just right for your kid.

3.     Find Out What’s Not Working For Sure

Have you noticed that your son only finishes his meals with beef but never with fish?

On your journey to tackling the reason your kid comes home with his/her food untouched is first discovering what isn’t working for sure.

Matters like:

Do they bring their food back home every day or only on select days?

What about their snacks and fruits?

Do they eat just the protein and leave the meal untouched or vice-versa?

Tried a different food flask and had the same results?

Do they finish their water or barely touch it too?

4.     Give It Time

The reason your child is not eating can be a bunch of reasons, which is why it’s good to rule out different things.

For instance, if the child is just recovering from malaria, they might not finish their food because the appetite is just returning.

In this case, it would be nice to pack something exciting like French fries with eggs and a milkshake to encourage the child and as a means of weight gain for recovery.

Scenario two is if the meals have been monotonous, i.e., repetitive, they are likely not to be excited about finishing it. For instance, if it’s like the third time that week, depending on the child.

If it’s a meal they don’t like e.g beans, the child may not eat it.

I encourage serving beans with sweet potato fries and fried mackerel for instance if you really must put beans in the lunchbox

Also, proteins like beef, fish can be overwhelming to eat at school, so it helps to chop it in pieces or some children might bring it back.

Have You Read: How To Teach Your Daughter Basic Body Hygiene

On Fridays, I encourage sandwiches or wraps, because most schools close at 1 pm and parents have worked hard all week prepping tedious meals.

Give them and yourself too to grow and adjust to it all.

5.     Make School Lunch What You Know They Will Eat

Meals like toast bread, jollof rice, fried rice, Spaghetti Jollof, plantain and egg sauce, egg sauce and bread, pancakes, etc. are not meals they are likely to return home.

Also, alternate between juice and biscuits or fruits for snacks. They eat the “other” foods for dinner when they come home.

A sure way to get your kids not to finish their meals is to serve those meals you know they don’t like to eat even at home.

If you have older kids, let them help with a meal plan so that they are excited about each meal.

For younger kids, pack child-friendly meals. Instead of noodles /spaghetti, you can do macaroni or other kinds of pasta with different shapes and instead of yam for toddlers, you can serve potatoes.

The point is: always include meals they enjoy.

6.     Give Them Incentives For Finishing Their Food

Some give hugs, other mums give cookies, some others give extra screen time.

But no one knows your kids better than you do. To ‘ginger’ them to finish their food in school, give them incentives on the days they do.

Imagine giving kisses and hugs and “that’s my girl!” to the one(s) that finish their food; the reaction is that the others who don’t will get motivated.

Find more resources on parenting here