“My daughter is 6 years old and in the 1st standard. She has to take two tiffin boxes, one for breakfast and another for lunch. But we found she is not consuming food either from one or both the boxes. We always give her choice of food in the boxes. What could be the reason for her not eating and how to overcome it? Please help.”
– Worried Father
Response from Meena Sivaraman, Early Childhood Development Specialist
When you say two lunch boxes, one for breakfast and one for lunch, do you mean to say the child leaves home without breakfast? It is a good rule to have breakfast and leave for school. Breakfast is a very important meal, as the child has not eaten since dinner. For better attention to academics, it is always good to ensure the brain has adequate sugar levels. Once you make this a rule, you are ensuring that
the child eats this meal at least. Each meal need not be as per the child’s taste. Talk to the child to get to know why the child is not eating. Sometimes children can’t eat as fast as their friends, they leave the food
and run to play. We need to communicate to the child that our body is like a machine and it needs fuel ever so often, once in three and a half hours. That’s the only way to have energy to do our tasks.
• One can be creative in packing lunches in such a way that the child can eat fast, without a mess, yet meet all the nutritional needs. Basically, each meal needs to have proteins, carbs, fat and vegetables or fruits.
• Also ask the child what the other children are bringing and if any friend has commented negatively about what she has got.
• Sometimes we parents need to be realistic about the quantity of food to be sent with the child.
• At six years many Indian children are still fed at home so may lack the skills to selffeed and finish the box.
• Also be sure to pack foods that taste good even when eaten cold. The food may lose moisture so please wrap in Alumunium foil to retain moisture.
• Involve the child in packing so she can be aware about how food preparation takes effort and planning. Involve the child in shopping as well.
• Share stories of your school days and what you used to carry.
Never be harsh about food as we need to eat all our lives. Hope this gives some answers to your questions.