It’s that time of the year again. Back to school. My first born is in grade one this year, gulp. School lunches add another element of stress to everyday life. Making a healthy lunch that is going to make you and your child happy can seem daunting. I have complied 5 tips to ensure your kiddies minds and bodies are well nourished and most importantly enjoyed.
Eat like a Rainbow:
Kids eat up to 50% of their caloric needs during school hours. A well balanced school lunch includes a protein, carbohydrate, healthy fat and vegetables. When it comes to vegetables and fruit pack a variety of darkly coloured fruits and vegetables. Dietitian’s often refer to rainbows when it comes to eating a well balanced diet, colourful fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
When you are meal planning for the week, think leftovers. Make double portions of dinner and serve it the next day. Use left over roasted chicken for sandwiches, much healthier than deli meats.
Involve your kids:
Ask for your kids input. Research does show that involving kids in the meal process increases healthy eating behaviours. Offer your kids a few nutritious options and allow them to choose. Or get them involved in the weekly meal plan and/or putting their lunch together. Plus, lunches are less likely to come home uneaten when kids have input on what goes into their lunch boxes.
Make it fun:
Make lunch fun. Add a little note or place a colourful napkin in their lunch. Make fun shapes out of cookie cutters. Use heart ,flower or animal cookie cutters for cheese, fruit, and or sandwiches.
Most schools schedule less than 30 minutes for lunch. Make sure your child portion sizes are appropriate and containers are easy to open. Miss E really likes the bento style lunch containers. I love them because it is one dish to wash instead of multiple small containers.
Top 10 Lunch ideas:
Cucumber and cream cheese sandwich
Sesame seed butter and jam
Leftover roasted chicken and vegetables
Hummus and veggies
Homemade butternut squash macaroni and cheese
Top 10 Snacks:
Vegetables and dip
Yogurt (plain) and fruit
Crackers and Cheese
Mini muffins like these omega 3 double chocolate muffins from friache nutrition
Homemade fruit sauce such as this apple and pear sauce or homemade apple sauce
Popcorn trail mix
School lunch resources:
There are tons of resources out there to help you make healthy and fun lunches. I have complied a couple of my favorite bloggers to help keep you out of the boring sandwich rut.
Catherine McCord is a model, chef and co founder of Weelicious. Weelicious is a website dedicated to feeding kids healthy meals.
Fraiche nutrition is a nutrition website by fellow dietician mom Tori Weezer. Tori’s recipes focus on seasonal whole foods. Her photo’s are amazing and make you want to try all her recipes.
If you are looking for simple recipes that are vegetable focused Sprouted kitchen is the blog for you. Sara also shares some feeding tips and recipes for the little ones.
Another fellow dietitian blogger who is passionate about healthy school lunches and healthy snacks on the soccer field.
Join us for the month of September as we help nourish your kids minds and bodies with healthy breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas.
This family took a food pledge to avoid processed foods for 100 days and never looked back. There is a page dedicated to school lunches on the their site.
Happy Lunch Packing!