How to make lunch easy for kids to enjoy

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Wednesday, 14 February 2018

How to make lunch easy for kids to enjoy

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Wednesday, 14 February 2018
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When it comes to cling-wrapped sandwiches and un-cut oranges, the struggle is real for young children. In fact, some early primary school kids are having so much trouble accessing their food, they're skipping lunch out of frustration.

To tackle this problem, a Brisbane child care centre is teaching its three- and four-year-olds the art of independent eating. With lessons in fruit-peeling, yoghurt-opening and sandwich un-wrapping, Timber Tots Child Care is helping pre-schoolers to help themselves – and prepare for life at big school.

What does independent eating mean in practice?

Jana Walker is the director of Timber Tots Child Care and explains that, "Parents pack lunches, and kids rarely have any contact with zip-locked bags, cling-wrap or fruits that need to be peeled. When they get to school it can be very frustrating for them when they are left wrangling with their tub of yoghurt."

She adds, "Our classes teach children how to make a sandwich and how to eat lunch on their laps without spills. We asked the local schools that our children will eventually attend how we could best prepare them. This was one of the areas. We want our children to be well-prepared and confident about the school routine."

How can parents pack an easy-to-eat kids' lunch?

Children need a healthy, balanced food selection to nourish and sustain them through the day. And to make sure all that good food actually gets eaten, mums and dads are advised to go easy on the packaging.

To help kids negotiate their lunch, dietitian Kate Di Prima recommends that parents:

  • Make the lunch simple and quick for children to access
  • Avoid over-wrapping the food
  • Buy a bento-style lunch box with separate compartments
  • Teach their child how to open their lunch box independently before starting school

What are some basic food skills for little people to learn?

To prepare your pre-schooler for life at school and beyond, here are five food-handling skills to practice at home:

  1. Spreading soft butter on bread
  2. Pouring water into a measuring cup
  3. Peeling bananas, oranges and mandarins
  4. Cutting soft ingredients, like mushrooms, with a plastic knife
  5. Picking herb leaves and hulling strawberries

More food for thought

As well as teaching children how to handle food, child care centres are also teaching them how to handle risk. For more on this, click here.


References

Courier Mail
BBC Good Food

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2020

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