I lost my earlier post. It sounds like she doesn't have the organization skills to do it.
I was worried about this when DS started preschool but he adapted quickly. Of course, that was far more sheltered than K with a strict food policy and an adult at every table.
I'd suggest eating a meal out of the house each day, perhaps lunch at the park. Pack all of the compentents for a healthy lunch plus a snack for each of you and make her responsible for it. You can help with things like opening a water bottle but that is it. If she doesn't eat, she can be hungry. Pack things that are likely to appeal to her and that don't take a super long time to eat. Pack small portions that aren't scary. If she gets hungry, she can go to her lunch/snack bucket and eat something from it.
Neither of my kids really like sandwhiches so those are rarely packed. DS likes what he refers to as a "real lunch" which is packed in a thermos.
So, repetition will help. Familiarity with implements will help. Also, eating from the thermos linked is actually easier than a bowl. The high sides help with control.
Lunches from the last week that I can recall:
Lamb burger lunch- lamb burger with grilled zuccini, tomato, cherry tomatoes, and half of a lamb burger dressed with a little olive oil and not spicy harissa
cut up cucumbers
cherries with the pits and stems removed
whole wheat pasta with meat and vegetable rich marinara
cheese (not very much protein in the pasta dish)
hummus and pita
fried brown rice
chili mac (whole wheat elbows with a very mild. tomaty-chili with meat and beans)
cheese tortelleni with tomato sauce
leftover homemade pizza, wrapped in foil
small empenada from an Argentine place, wrapped in foil
We use these:
Lunch bag, easy to open with a single zipper http://www.amazon.com/Crocodile-Creek-Pocket-Lunchbox-Butterfly/dp/B00262DCVY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1338839911&sr=8-2
Sigg Water bottle with a reasonably easy to open top
2 4 oz small containers for fruit, crackers, or goodies like dried cherries. Great to use the same size every day because it helps with portion control http://www.amazon.com/GladWare-Mini-Round-8-ct/dp/B0030HTZTM/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338840053&sr=1-1
utensils, plus a napkin that is really a baby washcloth
Occasionally use a reusable snack bag for bulky items or sandwiches
Wow! Thanks for this detailed post. We are vegetarians so that does make it harder and prefer a vegan diet but aren't extra strict. We converted last year and we are v. happy overall with the decision. However, she is allowed the v. unhealthy chicken nuggets, pizzas and cake at birthday parties. So, here is another problem I forgot to mention. Since she was 6 months, almost every meal of hers had egg, chicken, beef or it was a ham sandwich or turkey sandwich. Now, that we have turned our diet around she is finding it hard to adjust. Most of the veggies you mention, she won't eat. If she does, it is because we are threatening to take away a toy or some other consequence. Most fruits are fine but sometimes we have problems with fruits too. Has tried humus v. reluctantly when we were eating it. But, when we offered it to her next time she wouldn't eat it. She likes slices of cheese but we don't want to give that to her because that's all she'll eat sometimes. Cheese sandwich for lunch and quinoa pasta with cheese for dinner. She will eat beans and rice but when it is fed. She doesn't love brown rice or the beans so she will procrastinate. When she had meat she would eat cooked carrots and beet or zucchini on the side. Lately, she's been causing trouble with carrots too. Stopped zucchini at age 2. Seemed like she wanted to throw it up. If we get a veggie sandwich from outside she usually likes it but will take forever to eat it if she has to feed herself. She doesn't like the homemade one because of the whole grain bread. The partly white flour bread is more welcomed.
So to sum it up: 1. Doesn't like healthy options. 2. Doesn't like many textures 3. Doesn't like many veggies 4. Complains of getting tired holding a sandwich for a long time in her hand or whatever other food. 5. If left to feed herself will say I am full after a few bites.