Chinese chicken salad (with orange chicken bits on the side), Apple Newtons, mandarin orange
My kids are, for the most part, good eaters. They have all been blessed with a healthy appetite, and Alfie and I have exposed them to a variety of foods and cuisines. Even more important, we raised them with an open-minded perspective on new experiences, a willingness to try most new foods, and the hope that they would not pre-judge a new food based on its looks. As a result, I never have to cook a separate meal for any of them, and their lunch boxes usually come back clean as a whistle.
That being said, they are still individuals, with their own likes and dislikes, which is perfectly normal. Jammy, for instance, does NOT like mashed potatoes. The Pea does NOT eggplant. 3Po does NOT like peas. No matter how many different ways I prepare it or how much I disguise it with other foods they like, they usually manage to identify the offending food and remove it. I never force them to eat food they don't like because I respect the fact that everyone, including my kids, including me, has preferences. So there have been times when portions of their lunch come back home uneaten. Here are a couple of examples of my lunch fails:
Soba noodles, blueberries, Fig Newtons, raisins
Cold leftovers: my kids rarely eat cold leftovers. Practically the only dish from the night before they will eat without warming up is pizza. They loved the blueberries in the lunch above, but all 3 kids told me the soba noodles were disgusting. Come to think of it, they didn't like the Fig Newtons too much either.
Avocado and cheese sandwich, grapes, chocolate chip brownies
Sandwich crusts: 3Po and Jammy don't mind eating the crusts on their sandwiches, but The Pea absolutely will not eat them. If I don't cut the crusts off for her, she will tear them off herself. I know my in-laws don't approve of such a wasteful practice, but I can't help giving The Pea a pass on the crusts because I hate them too :)
BLT, mini brie wedge, dried pineapple
Dried fruit. There isn't a fresh fruit on the planet that my kids do not like, but we have a mixed record on dried fruit. The boys like raisins but The Pea doesn't; all 3 of them like dried cranberries; none of them like dried pineapple but all of them like freeze-dried pineapple (i.e. the crunchy kind); they love any kind of fruit leather; they dislike dried apple chips, both the crunchy kind and the squishy kind. I can never predict which ones they will like unless I serve it to them.
Grape skewers, swiss cheese wedge, Ritz crackers
Actually, there's nothing in the photo above that my kids don't like. This is one of the lunches that came back clean. Like I said, they're pretty good eaters :)