It’s time to start thinking about it again – packing school lunches. Healthy school lunches and snacks give children and youth energy and the nutrition they need for proper growth, development and success in the classroom. Without healthy food, children may feel tired, have difficulty concentrating and may not have the energy they need to learn and play at school.
Here are some tips to make healthy school lunches to fuel your child throughout their day.
1. Involve your kids.
Let them help plan and prepare their lunches. Your kids learn how to make a healthy lunch and they will be more likely to eat the foods packed.
- Set aside time to make lunches a team effort. Making lunch can be fun and allow time to spend together. This can be a part of your family’s routine; once the kids are home from school or right after supper.
2. Bored with sandwiches? Switch it up.
Use the same filling, but change the grain product. You can have more than a week’s variety!
- Try using whole grain wraps, pitas, small bagels, English muffins, flatbread, naan bread or buns. Having some of these choices in the freezer can make it easy to switch up and help with reducing food waste.
- Use hummus, tzatziki (cucumber yogurt spread), guacamole, or salsa as a sandwich spread to add flavour variety.
3. Are sandwiches not an option? Try these instead:
- Chili or stew (in insulated container) with grated cheese
- Whole grain crackers, cheese, and carrot sticks and snap peas with hummus.
- Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
- Salad with meat or beans and grated cheese.
- Fruit salad with cottage cheese and whole grain roll.
4. Make vegetables and fruit easy to eat.
Kids are more likely to eat already cut up vegetables and fruit. Prepare enough vegetables and fruit for the week instead of doing this every day. Some kids enjoy dips with their vegetables or fruit.
- Carrots, cucumbers, peppers, grape tomatoes or celery with hummus dip.
- Bananas, pineapple or apples with a yogurt dip.
5. Include at least three of the food groups from Canada’s Food Guide
Aim to include a food choice from least three of the four food groups (Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, Meat and Alternatives) from Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide for a balanced and healthy meal. Keep servings sizes appropriate for your child’s age/appetite.