This year when I did my meet & greet to go over the handbook and introduce myself I talked about Lunch. Everyone was very receptive. Lucky for me there had been an article in the local paper 2 days earlier about lunch and nutrition for school.
Almost all of my little ones(think 3 yr old) bring great lunches. I only have a few picky eaters in my class this year.
One little boy brings a round sectioned dish with a fish shaped lid every day. His lunches make me drool. His first lunch was Shrimp and fruit. He rarely has a sandwich. One of my favorites of his was noodles with beef and shrimp, homemade fruit salad(kiwi,pear and nectarine) and cherry tomatoes with steamed asparagus. Never tons of food, but just enough for him. His mother is Korean and says he is a picky eater!
Another little boy brings leftovers usually too. He calls tortellini, noodles. Usually packed plain with cut up chicken breast. Always has almonds and usually cheese chunks. His mom does use plastic baggies, but interestingly his mother labels everything in marker. He'll say, "does this say cheese?" Also if you can dip it in Ketchup this child will eat it. He loves to dip.
I have another child who lives on bottled yogurt smoothie drinks. One who will only eat apples(but not the skin) and applesauce. One who eats the inside of the peanut butter sandwich before eating the bread and also likes hard boiled eggs and raw cut up vegetables.
When I did my spiel I talked about small portions of what their child would eat. Not to pack an apple that was so big the child couldn't take a bite out of it. I told them about a mother I know that used to take an ice cube tray and fill each section with good food. When her child wanted to snack Mom would take the tray out of the fridge and the kid could eat Anything in the tray. By the end of the day she would have eaten lots of good growing food.
The regulations say that each lunch should have a protein, fruit and veg and milk and bread. It doesn't take in to account that some kids are allergic to milk. I told them this was a guideline, that I doubted that the lunch police were going to come knocking so to think outside the box.
Crackers and noodles instead of bread. Cheese or yogurt instead of milk. I asked them to cut up the fruit so their children would actually eat it.
The mom's have come through spectacularly! Makes me proud.
I of course do my part and bring a good lunch in one of my bento boxes. We have conversations at the lunch table about growing food and what we like to eat. If I have carrots everyone with carrots tells me they have carrots too. Lunch is fun in my class and that's the way I like it.