14 Packed Lunch Ideas Your Picky Preschooler Will Love

14 Packed Lunch Ideas Your Picky Preschooler Will Love
Image: iStock.com/FatCamera

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Parents of picky eaters have plenty of tricks they use to get their kid to eat healthy. But what happens when they go to school? Sometimes, kids just don't eat what we've spent time packing for them. Preschool parents can see many lunches coming home untouched.

To help you in your quest to get your picky eater to actually eat -- and eat healthy even -- we found some super creative ideas to help make packed lunches look even more appetizing and fun.

  • Create fun shapes.


    Hearts and stars forever! Not to pick on square sandwiches, but they can be a bit ... well, square. Exciting shapes like stars and hearts will at least make your kid want to take a closer look ... and then a taste. It's easy to do if you have a few cookie cutters around the house.

  • Add a cute face.


    Imagine opening up a lunch box to this cute kitty face! We love how you can get creative with just a few tiny strips of seaweed. You can, of course, experiment with different animals and foods to suit your child's tastes.

  • Add toys or cake decorations.


    A trip to the craft store (or some online searching) can reveal all sorts of fun signage you can add to your kid's lunch to make it a little more fun. 

  • Create a theme.


    This would be the perfect lunch for Halloween time -- or any time if your little one enjoys scary stuff. 

    More from CafeMom: My Picky Eater Devours Healthy Snacks From Other Moms but Not Me -- What Gives?

  • Let your kid be the "chef."


    Some kids love making their own food or helping mom cook. By putting the elements of a sandwich separately in the lunch box, your child gets to create it himself. And he may feel even more excited to eat it, too.

  • Make it a game.


    Despite what your parents may have told you, playing with food should be completely okay -- kids love feeling the texture in their hands, and this helps them be more comfortable with eating it. A little meat-and-cheese tic tac toe board is a genius idea. Try it with different foods too.

  • Create little rolls for little hands.


    Making sandwiches into tiny rolls is not only cute, but the pieces are perfect for picking up with little hands. And that may make the sandwich more manageable and more likely to be eaten. Bonus points if you arrange the rolls into a flower shape. 

  • Try fun shaped cups.


    You don't have to be a food artist to create artsy lunchbox looks to entice your kid. Just pick up some silicone muffin cups in fun shapes, and add different foods to each one. This lunch box looks colorful and exciting with these cute containers.

    More from CafeMom: Why You Should Let Your Picky Eater Make a Great Big Mess

  • Make it critter-friendly.


    If you make your kid's lunch seem friendly by adding cute animal-topped toothpicks, your kid might just look forward to lunch. Many picky eaters dread mealtime, and this make it feel more like playtime.

  • Create kebabs.


    This lunch box is making us hungry for those cute pieces of cheese and adorable cucumber kebabs. It's all about the bite sized portions, letting little hands feel independent in their eating ... and forgetting they're picky.

  • Entice with color.


    Blueberries nestled in raspberries, a kebab of tomatoes and cucumbers, carrots creating stripes -- all these yummy foods are also super colorful, making them easy on the eyes ... and hopefully more likely to be tasted. 

  • Mix in a variety.


    When you mix in a great variety of foods (all in fun bite-sized portions), kids may become more excited to try all the different things. Plus, who wouldn't want a sweet message on their banana?

    More from CafeMom: 10 Tips to Ensure Picky Eaters Get the Nutrition They Need

  • Make eating a journey.


    Is this a game or lunch? Both! We love the idea of creating a path for your child to eat one section at a time until the finish line. Maybe they won't notice they're getting bites of protein along the way.

  • Cut a heart shape.


    Of course, even if you don't have ton of time to pack it, you can still make a lunch with love. Sometimes simply cutting a sammie into a heart shape is just what your kid needs to want to eat it. 

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