Healthy eating is always instyle. But now more than ever is it time to stock up on nutritious options to ensure kids head off to school with the fuel they need to grow, focus and learn their best. While we fill those environmentally friendly reusable bags and stainless containers with homemade whole grain muffins and carrot sticks, it can be hard to control your children’s decisions once they get to school. As requested use my lunchbox checklist to kick the lunch slump.
WHAT TO DO? TALK TO YOUR KIDS
The easiest way to learn more about lunchtime is to simply talk to your children, find out what they’re eating, tossing or trading (discourage that!) and which foods they enjoy. Encourage them to avoid certain cafeteria items, such as chicken nuggets or French fries.
NOURISHING LUNCH BOX TIPS
- Stock up on kid-friendly, healthy staples and let them choose from the healthy options available. Kids love to make choices so give them plenty of fun healthy options.
- Pack lunches with your children the night before so everyone is excited, not rushed and has a hand in it.
- Combine good protein, low GI carbs, fiber (whole wheat grains) and essential fatty acids all in one.
- Explain to your children how foods can affect their mood (i.e. too many sweet foods will make you feel wacky, tired, cranky).
- Make hot lunch the treat—once or twice a month so they don’t feel deprived or left out. Get them involved in making their food decisions.
Pack healthy and delicious items that both parents and child can agree on. The more satisfied they are with their own lunch, the less likely they are to trade for chips, cookies and candy. Experiment with seed butters like hemp, sunflower and pumpkin. They have the same creamy texture as peanut butter but are all school-approved nut-free alternatives.
LUNCH BOX CHECKLIST:
PACK ONLY 100% WHOLE GRAINS
- (read the packages), quinoa and brown rice.
- Include both. Fiber keeps them satiated and focussed.
- Lay off the nitrate-laden processed sandwich meats. Hit the bean spreads, organic cheeses and meats, hemp seeds.
- Keep packaged crackers, cookies out. Loads of snack ideas at Nourished.ca. Recipes calling for nuts can be replaced with super seeds like chia and hemp instead.
Here our my picky kids’ top picks:
- Nitrate free, organic turkey paired with cheese and a thinly sliced veggie rolled up on a whole grain pita.
- Whole grain pasta sprinkled with nutritional yeast; organic cheese and cut up fruit and veggie sticks. EASY!
- Pumpkin seed butter spread with honey and sliced banana or apple on whole grain flat bread.
- Cook extra and revive last night leftovers into lunch box fun—Mini meatballs with veggies and whole grain crackers; Brown rice and black beans wrapped up with sliced avocado and a side of salsa to dip.
- Get inspired with healthy, easy and delicious creations.
GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
Many schools don’t have the know-how for healthy meals, leaving it up to the parent to provide better options. Advocate for or start a nutrition program to be implemented at your school, as it’s likely that a number of parents have similar concerns. Contact me for more information on starting a NOURISHED-IN-SCHOOL program at your school.
How are you getting back to it? Share here and tell us your favourite healthy lunch ideas. Share the love and send this to all your favs.