(Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)

The founder and president of ChopChop, a cooking magazine for families, urges parents to involve kids when deciding what to pack. “Ask them what they want for lunch, and then have them help shop, cook, prepare and pack it,” she says. And to make it real, Sampson suggests parents use “real time” to have a conversation with kids about food.

“Sit down with them and come up with a list,” she says. “Depending upon their age, either one of you can write it down, but have them illustrate it. To avoid insurgence, revisit the menu every few weeks or so.”

In a story from the Food section, Sampson includes other tips for making the pickiest eaters happy, getting children who are indifferent about lunch more involved in making it and figuring out which foods your children enjoy.