There is no doubt that this year’s back-to-school will be a very different affair. Regardless of whether your children will be in the classroom or learning from home, one thing remains the same: the importance of a healthy lunch. After all, healthy food is their fuel for a day of learning. It helps them concentrate and gives them the energy they need for the day. Additionally, a healthy lunch box will provide your youngsters with the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need to grow and develop. So, read on and discover tips to bring “healthy” back to your kids’ lunch box!
A healthy lunch box starts with planning
As parents, we all know how hectic school mornings can be. Getting the kids up, fed, dressed, packed for school and out the door on time can be a real challenge. Now add making lunches to the mix, and you have yourself one very busy morning. But with a little bit of planning, you can easily streamline the lunch-making process. The Canada’s Food Guide recommends making lunches a part of your meal plan to save time and stay organized. “On the weekend, plan school lunches with your kids for the week ahead,” states the Canada’s Food Guide tips for Healthy Eating at School. Furthermore, ask for their input on the foods they like. This should include fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods and protein. You should also think about what you will make for dinner that week. Leftovers can be used for quick and easy lunches the next day.
Give your kids a say in what goes into their lunch box
Kids will be more likely to eat the food you pack if they were involved in the process. As such, your children should help in planning, shopping, and preparing the food. Ask for their feedback and let them pick out healthy options they think they will enjoy. Furthermore, participating in preparing and packing their own healthy lunch box will:
· Get them to try new foods.
· Make them feel as though they are part of the process.
· Teach them about the importance of eating well and nutrition.
· Improve their own food and cooking skills (who knows you may just have a future chef on your hands).
· Reduce the amount of food that comes home uneaten.
A healthy lunch box should include variety
As many of us have seriously picky eaters on our hands, having different options can be key. Thus, you should include a variety of foods in their lunch box. From fruits and vegetables, to cheeses and hard-boiled eggs, to veggie wraps or sandwiches, to healthy dips, granola and other whole grains—your little ones will enjoy picking at what they like. Just remember to stay clear of sugar and sugar substitutes, which are especially bad for their health and oral health, and limit sodium and processed foods.
If you find a winning solution stick with it
When it comes to school lunches, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. If there is a healthy, wholesome lunch your kid loves, there is nothing wrong with packing it several times a week. After all, children love routine. So, save yourself the stress and go with the sure thing!
Sending your kids off to school with a healthy lunch box is not rocket science. All you need is a bit of planning and some input to ensure you are packing foods they will eat. Most of all, do not stress too much that they eat a well-balanced meal every time. As the Canadian Paediatric Society states: “don’t worry too much about what your child eats on any given day, but make sure that he eats a variety of healthy foods over several days.” And remember, oral health is an important part of a child’s development. Make sure your children brush and floss every day and schedule regular dental check-ups. Make an appointment today.