If you have a picky eater, then you know how difficult it is to send them off to school with the hope that they will actually eat what you pack in their lunch boxes. As a mom or dad, you don’t want your child coming home hungry everyday toting back the foods you sent to school. And in truth, this happens more often than not with picky eaters, and as a parent you feel guilty.

First, allow your child to choose the lunch box they really want so that they feel they are a part of the lunch process. Next, if they are old enough, involve them in the planning and the grocery shopping. Try to pack a balanced meal which is not always easy to do with these little ones. You can try to pair something they already eat with something new, but giving them new items in their lunch boxes may not always be a smart choice.

You can also involve your child by going over the school lunch menu together. Maybe he or she will choose some days to buy their lunch to break up the lunch box monotony. On lunch box days, make sure they can clearly see what’s in the box and that you have given them a variety of foods they like. Small quantities of things they like gives them choices and lets you incorporate more of the foods they might actually eat.

Bento Boxes are perfect for these picky eaters. The small spaces give you the opportunity to give them small bites of the foods they love. Get creative! Mix it up! Add an encouraging note to the box, and then just try to relax. Give them choices, involve them in the packing process and know that they will not starve! And by involving them more, you lessen the struggle and may help them develop a bigger interest in food.