It’s a bittersweet time of year for us. Our kids are going back to school. There is a flood of mixed emotions because we will miss them after spending all summer with them, yet we are happy to see them growing up and learning with new friends and teachers.
Some of our biggest concerns as parents when they are at school are about lunches: what are they eating? Are they throwing away their lunch? Are they getting enough nutrients? Are we packing them a healthy lunch?
We decided to get some help from York Region and one of their registered dietitians, Nancy, to give us some Back to School Lunch and Snack Tips that have helped us and we know will help you. Not only did York Region give us some great tips they also went shopping with us. Check out the tips and videos below:
- Print the Canada Food Guide image and put it on your fridge. This is a great reminder to include vegetables and fruit, protein foods and whole-grain foods in your lunch each day.
- Make their snacks easy for them to eat. Pack items such as cherry tomatoes, pepper strips, baby carrots, grapes, bananas, blueberries sliced apples or pears and orange sections.
- Don’t feel like you always have to pack a sandwich. Finger lunches such as whole-grain crackers, cheese and cherry tomatoes make a quick and easy option.
- If you decide to pack a sandwich- Stick to whole-grain breads, pitas, bagels and tortillas.
- Water, water & water. Avoid sugary drinks and pack a reusable water bottle.
- Get the kids involved in grocery shopping with you, creating a list, and packing their lunch. For example, GM is in charge of filling his water bottle the night before and putting it in the fridge so it stays cold. Ella is in charge of washing her fruit or veggies the night before and packing them.
- Get into the habit of planning. Every Sunday we create a list for the week and keep it on the fridge.
- Make sure you have a good stock of containers and that they are in arms reach for kids to help pack them.
- Always have the essentials stocked in your fridge. For us no matter what its always cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cheese, bananas and apples.
- Here are some easy and delicious snack ideas you can pack for your kids:
-Veggies and fruit
– Apples or pears
-Baby or sliced cucumbers
-Fruit cups (e.g., peaches) packed in water
-Whole-grain crackers (check the sodium)
-Whole-grain baked pita “chips”
-Low-fat yogurt & yogurt drinks or tubes (check sugar content) and a banana
-Mini low-fat carrot, oatmeal or bran muffins and sliced pears
-Mini carrots and hummus
-Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and dry whole-grain cereal
-Grapes and cheese strings
Did you know?
York Region offers nutrition programs and resources to elementary and secondary schools?
York Region can work with your healthy school committee, parent council and / or student councils to help identify ways to improve the school nutrition culture.
To learn more: visit york.ca/schoolnutrition
Thank you York Region and Nancy for these great tips and for taking the time to educate us and our community on some great school lunch and snack ideas.
Want more ideas for healthy lunches?