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Back to school: Real-life tips from mums

You know the foods kids need to eat – the tricky part can be getting them to eat it! Real mums offer their best advice for wrangling fussy eaters. 

“Get them to help pack little containers of chopped fruit (strawberries, grapes, melon) and veg (carrots, snow peas, yellow capsicum). It gets them comfortable in the kitchen, plus they’re more likely to eat something if they’ve had a hand in the preparation!” – Ashleigh Jones

“Small vegie muffins jam-packed with mushrooms, red capsicum, corn etc, a little cheese or ham, plus a pinch of cayenne pepper or ground chilli. My three-year-old loves them!” – Rowena Davey

“Sausage rolls with grated carrot, sweet potato and zucchini – or grated potato and carrot in hamburgers!” – Samantha Hutchinson

“Packing school lunchboxes with healthy food has been easy, on-time and within my budget after I set the rule that my kids take a piece of fruit for morning tea and sandwiches or home-cooked meals for lunch from Monday to Thursday. The only exception is Friday, which I have set aside as ‘junk food day’. The kids get to pick what they want to eat (such as chips, biscuits, etc). On the last Friday of every month, the whole family observes ‘junk food day’ where we either get takeaway for dinner or go out to a restaurant.” – Vira Venkatesh

“Neither of my children eat bread crusts, so I give them rolls – they always eat all of their roll!” – Sarah Behrson

“I find it’s all about getting them involved in choosing and preparing their food. Take them to the supermarket and let them choose their school snacks, and let them pack their own lunchbox (from a pre-selected array of healthy foods!). They tend to eat their lunch when they make it themselves. They cut their roll into shapes, they make a mess and it drives me nuts, but they eat it!” – Gai Mahoney

“Little mini quiches packed with leftover vegies using low-fat puff pastry. Kids love ‘em!” – Nicole Orringe

“I make the kids ‘surprise lunches’ with lots of little bites of food including fruit, sandwiches and of course, a treat – but keep it to small portions of everything. They love it because, as the name suggests, they don’t know what they are going to get!” – Jan Beatty

“We make choc chip muffins together every Sunday. I add grated zucchini, banana and carrot (of course they don’t know this) and they both have a muffin for morning tea every day.” – Rachel Dennis

“My children love chicken schnitzel, so I make my own and freeze them. I dip the chicken in egg, milk and pepper, then I use corn flakes and parmesan cheese to coat. I buy fresh wholemeal rolls from the bakery and grill the schnitzels instead of pan-frying them.” – Maria Vaxevanis

“We have a homemade pizza night once a week. I get the kids to add the toppings (especially vegies) to their own pizzas. Make funny faces or different shapes with the food to show them that eating healthy food can be fun!“ – Lindy Butt

First published: Feb 2012



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