March is Nutrition Month || Tips on Packing a Healthy Lunch
A nutritious lunch can help support your little scholar to learn and play by providing energy and enhancing focus in class.
Canada's new food guide recommends making half your meal veggies and fruit, a quarter of your meal whole grains, and a quarter of your meal protein foods. But what does this look like when packing a school lunch?
Here are a few ideas to illustrate:
1. Hummus with whole grain crackers, tomato & cucumber chunks, with a greek yogurt tub and grapes on the side.
2. Homemade whole grain muffin, cottage cheese cup with veggie sticks and sliced apple on the side.
3. Left over veggie and chicken stir fry on brown rice, with cantaloupe chunks on the side.
4. Egg salad sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce, tomato and shredded carrots, and sliced pear on the side.
5. Vegetarian chili leftovers topped with grated cheese served together with quinoa, with a clementine.
A few other lunch tips include:
1. Use a thermos to keep warm foods warm (chili or soup) or cold foods cold (fruit smoothie)
2. Give a new lunch idea a trial run at home first, getting kids excited about their meal, and involved in planning & prepping.
3. For quick meal assembly, stock your kitchen with ingredients like dried and frozen fruit, canned beans and fish, yogurt, veggie sticks, cheese, school-friendly nuts, whole grain bread products and ready-to-eat cereals that are high in fibre.
4. Tired of the same sandwich? Try cutting them into new shapes, or rolling up the filling in a whole grain tortilla wrap.
Planning ahead will ensure that tasty, nutrient-dense foods are within reach when your child is feeling hungry, ultimately supporting growth and learning, while setting them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Want more ideas?
Read about Canada's new food guide here. Be sure to click through the sections for more information and lots of practical ideas.
Check out the Dietitians of Canada Nutrition month fact sheets for some snack suggestions and ideas for getting everyone involved at mealtimes.
Lastly, find a list of award-winning, kid-approved recipes here.
Contributor: Heidi Los, RD, TKS Alumnus