It's that time of year again, back to school! I always find this time of year bittersweet, summer is coming to and end but a new chapter is beginning (and fall foods and colours are just around the corner). It can be challenging packing lunches for your child, but having a plan of what to pack can make your life a heck of a lot easier!
Packing healthy lunches will help fuel your child's activity, learning, play, and most importantly help them grow. Below are some tips and lunch ideas to help kickstart your planning this fall.
Get your kids involved. Have your child help with the planning and packing of their lunch, sit down with them and plan some lunches together. Depending on their age, it might be difficult to have them make their own lunch, BUT you can get them involved by having them put things together or pack it.
Bring your child grocery shopping and have them select some fruits and vegetables they want in their lunch. If you are worried about what your child will choose, provide them with 2 options to choose from instead.
Aim to include a variety of different foods. Is there a source of protein? For example, hummus, eggs, yogurt, meat and/or alternatives? Does the lunch have fruits and vegetables, grains, healthy fats? Try to include a little bit of each.
To help you create variety, make a plan. Try to plan out your child’s lunches a few days in advance so you ensure you have bought the things you need and you are packing a variety of foods.
Make food fun! This can look different from family to family. Some suggestions include; leaving sticky notes for your child, having them place their favourite stickers on their lunch box or baggy, using cookie cutters to make fun sandwich shapes or fruit shapes, or create a surprise mystery snack.
Your child’s school lunch can incorporate a variety of mini meals or “snacky” type foods that give them all the nutrients they need. Don’t worry if there isn’t one “main” meal.
Lunch Ideas (amount will vary based on your child's age):
Granola (homemade or look for anything with 10 grams of sugar or less per serving)
Roll up wraps (i.e., whole wheat wraps with cooked spinach and cream cheese, rolled up and cut into bite size pieces)
Veggie side (i.e., sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes)
Blueberries or any fruit
Veggie side (any kind your child likes) with hummus or guacamole for dip
Mini pizzas (1 English muffin, sliced in half, provide toppings like shredded cheese, tomato sauce, veggies, turkey, pepperoni etc.). You can even have them create the pizza at lunch, just pack the toppings.
Sliced apples or melon
Veggie chips (i.e., terra beet/sweet potato chips, veggie straws etc.)
Cubed cheese or cheese string
Avocado egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread (use a ripe avocado in the place of mayo OR keep it classic and use mayo).
Some other ideas:
Whole wheat wrap roll ups are always fun and you can fill them with all sorts of ingredients (i.e., pizza flavoured, hummus and veggies etc.)
Use leftovers, if your child doesn't love sandwiches, include your dinner leftovers with some snacks
School lunches can be a combination of mini meals and/or snacks, you can incorporate a variety of foods your child enjoys to ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need during their school day
Aim for snacks with 10 grams or less added sugars (i.e., granola bars, yogurt, etc.)
I wish everyone the best transition back to school and an incredible school year ahead!
Cheers to happy and healthy eating. :)
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO