Back-to-school is here, and so is that often-dreaded question, “what do I pack in my child’s lunch?” Here are some tips for success for healthy and tasty school lunches from the local dietitian team at Atlantic Superstore:
Get your kids involved!
Ask your kids to help you come up with lunch ideas. Together, make a short list of foods they like from the three food categories needed to make a balanced meal: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Let them think of other foods they would like to include in their lunches and add them to your list of ideas. Once you have a list of food options, brainstorm together some lunch and snack ideas for the week. Revisit this list together as needed so your child can provide regular feedback regarding what they are enjoying, and to work on increasing the variety in your list.
On busy mornings, it can be very helpful to have fruits and vegetables pre-chopped in grab and go format to save you time. You can even pack them in lunch containers the evening before, so they are all ready to go in a lunch bag in the morning.
Take advantage of grab and go snacks.
Foods like cheese sticks, unsweetened applesauce cups, frozen yogurt tubes and individually packaged hummus portions are healthy and fun and can also make packing lunches simpler.
Enjoy family baking time.
Homemade muffins, cookies and granola bars can be great additions to a school lunch. Let your kids be a part of choosing which recipes to try and be your baker in-training! The great thing about most baked goods is that they can be prepared in bulk and frozen for future use. Simply take what you need out of the freezer in the morning, and they should be ready to enjoy for a snack later in the day.
Having kids help decide what is for lunch and then helping to prep and pack it, will all make them more inclined to eat their lunch at school. This can provide them with a sense of accomplishment, help them develop progressive independence and save you time in the long run!
School lunch help for those in need
At this time of year, it is also important to remember those in our community who are not so fortunate. Research shows approximately one million Canadian children live with food insecurity every day. For children, whose families might struggle to put food on the table, backto-school is a welcome time when they will have easy access to school meals thanks to President’s Choice Children’s Charity.
In the Halifax area in 2021-22, more than five thousand children at local schools as well as organizations such as Boys and Girls clubs were able to count on healthy meals and snacks through nutrition programs supported by President’s Choice Children’s Charity – including Fairview Heights Elementary, Duc d’Anville School and Fairview Junior High in our own immediate area. This support is essential to helping children learn, play, and grow! To ensure no child in your community goes hungry, please consider donating to PCCC in-store at any local Atlantic Superstore during the Million Hungry Minds campaign. between September 8 and 28.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk: https://www.pexels.com/photo/girls-sitting-at-the-table-8423409/