Only Eat Fruit and Veggies for Lunch, No Protein

Updated on June 19, 2013
S.C. asks from Milwaukee, WI
21 answers

My daughter, 7yrs old, is being difficult with lunches. I send her fruit and veggies (sugar snap peas or carrots) for lunch. Those she will eat. But, she won't eat the PB&J or the cheese stick and whole grain know, the stuff with protein that will fill her up. She likes these things and will eat them at home, but she won't eat them at school and summer day programs. She wants only goldfish and fruits and veggies. Now, at home I have no problem with the -this is dinner, you can choose to eat or not eat- mentality. But, running around all day I know she needs more than goldfish, fruit and veggies to keep her going and to keep from getting extra crabby. Any suggestions on lunch ideas? She sometimes does oatmeal for lunch, but she doesn't like the way her current sitter makes it. She also does not like lunch meats, so that excludes a lot of options. Help....

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Beans, chick peas, lentils, peas, edamame - we just pop these in a container just like the fruits and veggies for DS's lunches.

Nuts - almonds are a favorite but there are lots more.

Potatoes have only 4.3 g of protein for an entire medium potato - not awful but they have a high glycemic index and not much worthwhile for the calories.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

What about hard boiled eggs? Does she like those, if so then that could be something you could pack.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from New York on

My best advise is to control what you can, and don't worry about the rest. Send her off in the morning with a good hearty breakfast, and make sure she eats something good for dinner. If she just wants veggies for lunch, then so be it.

Kids taste change often. Next week try to introduce something different, maybe a yogurt. or a granola bar. Does she like to dip her veggies, maybe some humas or cheese dip.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

What about a protein bar? String cheese or yogurt? Cottage cheese with or without salt & pepper OR she could mix he fruit in with the cottage cheese?

Does she like Tuna? You could make her a tuna sandwich or a pita? My kids love when I make tuna w/pickles, hard boiled eggs, onion & tomato and I stuff it in a hollowed out tomato!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Will she eat protein for breakfast? Or will she at least agree to dip her apples and celery into peanut butter? Does she like Greek yogurt?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

She's 7, she knows what she wants and even if she says she ate it you don't know if she didn't just throw it away.

If she is too hungry it's a perfect opportunity to say "Wow, that must be hard, to feel so hungry. Perhaps tomorrow you can eat more of your lunch".

I suggest you don't argue over food. Let her eat what she wants from her lunch and let it go.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

There are lots of snack foods that are healthy and packed with protein...
yogurt-give her plain and she can put the fruit in it, my girls like to add a little granola too)
peanut butter w/o bread, she can dip friut/veggies in it
string cheese
nuts of all kinds
babybel cheese

I would just try some new snacks and not push her eating a full meal. My girls don't eat a ton at school either. Feed her a big protein packed breakfast and same for dinner and let her snack through the day.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I might be in the minority here but I see nothing wrong with her eating just fruits and veggies for lunch. It's actually really healthy and filling. So much healthier than a lot of things I see kids eating these days. Give her a healthy breakfast and dinner and she will be fine. People all over the world live healthier, longer lives than most Americans by eating mostly fruits and veggies, beans and rice and seldom eating meat or dairy. Could you maybe pack her some brown rice in a thermos, or some hummus for dip, or a yogurt for dessert. My kids like organic cliff kids bars too. Like yours mine are not eating a whole lot during their summer program but will be starving by dinner. I think cause its hot and they are losing their appetite I guess. This is what i packed for tomorrow, my 2 yr old will get watermelon, cheese, goldfish, and a yogurt smoothie(6 oz) I get from trader joe's. My 4 yr old(who barley eats between breakfast and dinner) will get watermelon, cheese and crackers. She probably won't eat the cheese and didn't eat the yogurt I packed her today. My 6 yr old will get watermelon, a peanut butter and honey sandwich and goldfish with a small handful of almonds I mixed in(hoping he'll mindlessly eat them). The watermelon is a huge portion for each. Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Since your daughter loves fruits and veggies, the fact is that she can get more protein out of them than out of other sources (dairy and meat). You just have to do the leg work. For instance peas, artichokes, and various beans and legumes (like chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans), even potatoes are all packed with protein. You can see if she'd like simple salads with different combinations and include a non-dairy dressing she can use like a dip or drizzle onto her veggies. Be sure to include fruits for "dessert." Corn, broccoli, and spinach are excellent sources of protein too. If she likes fresh baby spinach, there's a "bed" for salad right there. What's great is that even if you steam the veggies, they're still delicious cold or raw. Include carrots and other veggies she enjoys too.

I just don't see a problem with giving her the lunch that she wants. It means she'll eat it.


answers from Houston on

Is she heavy? She may be teased at lunch if she is heavy and eats a lot in front of others.



answers from Los Angeles on

How about salami slices?
Peanut butter in celery?
Spread peanut butter between 2 round crackers. Ready for her to grab &
Will she do sandwhiches? How about a mini sandwich. The daycare where my friend takes her kids serves mini sandwiches on those Hawaiian roll. The kids love them because they are small, soft & sort of
Try to be sure her breakfast includes a protein if you can.



answers from Albany on

My 7 year old daughter is a particular lunch eater too! She is not a huge sandwich eater, but will do grilled cheese, nutella/peanut butter. She does like chicken fingers, mac'n'cheese, pasta, meatballs etc. So, I got her a medium sized thermous and I just heat stuff up and send it to school in the thermous... She does love cheese though, so if nothing else, she will eat cheese sticks. She also loves Z-bars and granola bars... they have some protein, so if your daughter isn't big on bringing traditional lunches to school, send her with some granola bars along with her fruit/veggie. Or maybe send her with a small container of peanut butter to dip her apple/celery in?



answers from San Francisco on

Kids will not starve themselves, eventually they'll get hungry enough to eat whatever is there.

Stop packing her go to things to eat and only pack high protein 'body fuel' options.



answers from Portland on

What about a baked potato? My little one loves them and they have protein and potassium in them. Or a yogurt? I know they have whole grain goldfish now, maybe that will help? And, will she eat something simple like beef jerky or pepperoni sticks?


answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 18 now and just graduated high school.

She does not like lunch meats. She eats a lot of fruit, veggies w/dip, Greek yogurt, granola bars.

She's like me... We graze. We don't really sit for a big meal. Our family meals always have fruits/ veggies. Most always my home made marinara and some pasta.

Try not to worry and push too much. She will eat when she's hungry. My daughter will choose fruit any day over a candy bar, ice cream or chips.

How about edamame? We love the single serve packs for snacking at night . Another weakness we have is boiled peanuts!

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

You've rec'd some great suggestions.

Is she complaining about being hungry or tired? is she underweight? Does she eat protein/iron/calcium for breakfast and dinner? If you aren't seeing any problems, I'd let her eat the fruit & veg and not worry too much. I have the opposite problem, if it isn't some form of bread & cheese (mac 'n cheese, grilled cheese, cheese pizza, tortellini...) my kids don't recognize it as "lunch". :)

Anyway, kids getting hungry once in a while, which I think is a good thing. It makes me nuts that I'm asked to pack them a snack to park district classes that run from 1-3pm. Really? They don't need to eat every 2 hours. I don't want my kids to think it is normal to be full all the time. (Sorry...I know that wasn't the point of your post. Just venting.)



answers from Chicago on

Does she like cheese? Sometimes string cheese or Babybel can be fun!



answers from Louisville on

does she like tuna?


does she like tuna?



answers from Washington DC on

I would sit down and research some sources of veggie protein. Then I would explain to her that you are concerned that she is not going to have enough energy for school because she won't eat her growing food. I would ask her why she eats it at home but not school. And I would go over the list and ask her what she would like to try. If she will eat veg, then go that route.

If she has a "funtainer" or thermos, will she take soup? Mac and cheese? Pasta with sauce?



answers from Tampa on

What about dinner leftovers packed in a thermos/funtainer? Nuts/nut butters (not in sandwich form)? Hard boiled egg? Yogurt (my girls like when I freeze the tube and then it thaws by lunch time)?

At 7 years old, you should be able to explain the "importance" (which is debated in the whole/real food community) of having proteins with lunch and find some options you might like.


answers from Chicago on

Will she eat Greek yogurt? It is very high in protein.

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