School lunch ideas for picky eaters

Need some picky kid lunch ideas now they're going back to school? Give these healthy lunch box ideas a go to make sure your fussy eater gets the energy they need for the classroom and schoolyard.

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School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Is your kid a picky eater? Does their lunchbox come home full of food every day? Make that a thing of the past with these quick tips and healthy recipes for picky kids.

Tip #1: How to hide veggies in food

This is a tried and true technique for parents of picky eaters. How do you hide veggies in food that your child will take to school? Here are a few easy ways:

  • Chop or grate the vegetables: This tip is a no-brainer, small pieces of vegetables are easily hidden and difficult for fussy eaters to pick out. Veggies such as zucchini, carrot and creamed corn are barely detectable in savoury slices. Also try adding sweet potato or pumpkin puree to baked goods. A food processor can help save time on chopping vegetables. 
  • Mix mild-flavoured vegetables with stronger flavours: Cheeses and sauces can disguise the taste of veggies so your kid still gets their nutrients without fussing about the taste. 
  • Incorporate veggies into old favourites: Mix veggies into recipes you know they love. Try scattering chopped cauliflower into mac and cheese, try the Bacon Mac N' Cheese Jaffles for a portable option. Or cook extra veg like mushrooms, carrots and zucchini into pizza and pasta sauce.
  • Try something new: Ever tried cooking veggies into a pancake? Try the Pie Maker Okonomiyaki recipe, these savoury pancake bites contain a surprising amount of coleslaw without tasting like veggies. Or what about turning a veggie-rich risotto dinner into arancini balls? Check out the recipes for these below.

Tip #2: How to put more vegetables in pizza

The word ‘pizza’ can win over almost any picky eater, so how do you make pizza healthier? Make healthy pizza toppings by choosing a colourful range of vegetables. Extra points if you let the kids choose their toppings - get them involved and they’ll be more likely to eat up. If they're extra picky about veggies, try switching them up for some tropical pineapple. A controversial topping, but if it works…

Tip #3: Healthy vegetable dips

You can make dips healthier by sneaking vegetables into them and sending them off with carrot or celery sticks. That's two hits of veg in one! If they're really fussy, pita bread crisps or flatbread are a great substitute.

Tip #4: Healthy sweet snacks

If your child is still coming home with an untouched lunch, including an alternative sweet (but healthy) snack will help tide them over until dinner. Wondering how to make a healthier sweet snack? Try using your child’s favourite dried fruit or yoghurt chips in muesli bars, or bake snacks that are rich in naturally sweet vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato to cut down on sugar. Remember to use nut-free recipes like the ones below to keep the snacks safe for school.

Check out the recipes below which use a few of these tricks. They're also all bite-sized and delicious served at room temperature - but don't forget to send an ice-pack with any recipes that need to be kept cool!

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