NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Packing healthy school lunches can be frustrating—children know what they like and what they don’t.

Father Mario Carrillo said his daughter hates fish and everything he gives her she spits out.

Mother and nutritionist Robin Kaiden faces the same problems at home. But she says there are some easy steps that can help lessen the lunch box load.

As CBS 2’s Alex Denis reported, when packing a kid’s lunch, it’s important to think about three things: using color, being creative and being consistent.

Apples shaped like stars, peppers disguised as flowers growing in a kale garden and goldfish crackers swimming in a sea of blueberries are all ways to ensure your child has the nutrients needed for a successful school day, Denis reported.

The brighter the better, Kaiden says.

“The more color you have, the more nutrients you get, and talking natural colors from fruits and veggies,” she said.

You can get creative with ingredients  like trying Greek yogurt with seasoning instead of mayonnaise-based dipping sauces for veggie sticks. You can also transform a pizza and include some hidden vegetables.

“Right here is a whole wheat pizza muffin and in this there’s spinach hiding underneath. You can’t see it because it’s under the cheese,” Kaiden said.

Invite your child to help pack the lunch because when they’re included in the planning process, they’re more apt to eat it.

Above all, Kaiden says, is be consistent.

“Familiarity breeds liking,”she said. “It can take 50 exposures to a food and one day it will happen.”

By making it fun, healthy eating should follow. For more information and recipes from Kaiden, visit

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