School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

If you’re a parent of children at any age, you know how much of a task getting ready for school can be. Between overslept alarm clocks, grumpy attitudes, gathering everything they need for school, and getting to school on time, school mornings are some of the most hectic times in many households. This problem only gets more challenging if you’ve got a picky eater in the mix! 

There’s nothing wrong with picky eating; everyone has their own preferences, but when it comes to your kids, lunch ideas for picky eaters can be few and far between. Picky eating can tend to make your life difficult.  You want to make sure your kid is getting the nutrition they need, but you also have to figure out what kinds of food they’ll actually eat! Finding that balance can be tricky, but thankfully, it’s not impossible! 

Here at theEATbar, we know all about the trouble some people can have with eating, and we’re here to help! We put together this list of lunch box ideas for the picky eater(s) in your family, so you might be able to find those extra 10 minutes of sleep on a school morning. We made our suggestions as quick and easy as possible so that you can say goodbye to the stress of school lunches for good. 

The Lunchtime Dilemma

If you’ve been working with a picky eater for a little while now, you understand how frustrating it can be when they ask for the exact same ham and cheese sandwich for the fifth day in a row. You want to pack food that your kid enjoys, but if that’s limited to one or two types of meals, it’s easy to worry about them getting enough of the food they need.  

In the end, school lunches for picky eaters depend on finding a balance of wants and needs.  You should definitely focus on food that your kid wants to eat, but at the same time, you should still make sure they are getting all of the nutrients and calories they need.

Figuring Out The Faves

Before we dive right in, we should mention that not every suggestion will work for you and your kid. While there are some main foods that tend to be popular with picky eaters, everyone has their own tastes and preferences. That’s why, before you start packing up your lunchboxes, you should take some time to discuss food options with your kids!

Picky eating can come from many different sources, ranging from eating challenges early in childhood to the social pressure that comes from eating. Because of that, you should make sure you know what your picky eater likes and avoids. Maybe you should focus on foods with a compatible texture or always avoid peanut butter.  Whatever the case, taking time to learn your kids’ preferences will make the whole process easier for everyone!

Knowing their choices will also help you expand their palette as time goes on. If you know that your child is a fan of chicken nuggets, for instance, this can help you add more chicken-themed meals in the future! If you want to take it even one step further, you can make a list of all the foods your child enjoys so that they can help pick out the items for their lunch the next day. 

Lunch Box Ideas

Of course, there will always be days where none of the favorites sound good, and you’ll need to come up with something that can still fit your needs! That’s where we come in.  We took a few of the most common picky eater meals and came up with alternatives that can save you from a lunch box meltdown! 

The trick here is finding ingredients that can be made into a few different meals without too much of a hassle.  

Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a classic staple for tons of households, and their simplicity can translate to plenty of other dishes! For starters, there are plenty of other “picky eater” friendly foods that you can add to grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Try adding fruit, like apples or bananas, to the sandwich, particularly if your child enjoys that fruit. You can also try this philosophy with kid-friendly vegetables, like cherry tomatoes or red peppers. If there’s a fruit or veggie that your child prefers, it could also work in this situation! 

Alternatively, a quesadilla can provide the same cheesy, crunchy textures as a grilled cheese sandwich while still mixing up the routine.  You might even want to add some beans to a quesadilla for some extra protein. 


Plenty of kids want pizza every day for lunch, but we all know that isn’t possible (or healthy), so how can you find the balance? One great way to approach this is by deconstructing the pizza into some simple ingredients and packing each separately. For example, you could try adding some string cheese and slices of salami to the next lunch box, along with a fruit or veggie you know your child likes. 

This way, they can still get pretty much the same flavors as a traditional pizza, but with a little healthier kick to it! Another method is taking pizza ingredients and making them into another dish, like pizza pasta. Make some simple pasta, add in your child’s favorite pizza toppings, and voila, you have an entirely new meal that your kid will love. 

Snack Time

If you have the main meal figured out but still want to make sure your kid is getting enough to eat during the day, you might want to come up with snack ideas! Finding healthy snacks for picky eaters can sometimes be more accessible than planning out entire meals, so this could save you some hair-pulling in the future! 

Just like your lunch ideas, try to come up with a list of snacks for your kids that allows them to choose between some of their favorite foods.

Make Eating Fun!

Working with a picky eater can sometimes be frustrating, but as long as you approach them with patience and understanding, they’ll start helping you in return! Try talking to your picky eater about trying one new food per week, or add in small amounts of new food so your child can try it without having to eat a lot.

At theEATbar, we know that eating can be a challenge at times, so we made our snack bars as easy and fun to eat as possible! Our unique meringue texture and simple flavors are sure to be a hit with your family, from snack time to dessert. Try theEATbar today, or check out our blog for more eating tips and tricks.