by Heather Mileski, registered dietitian, McMaster Children’s Hospital
When kids are involved in making lunches, they’re more likely to eat and enjoy what’s in their bag. So you aren’t scrambling every night, set aside time for family lunch preparation on the weekend and make enough to last through Friday. To further encourage healthy eating habits at school, model healthy eating at home by cooking and eating together. Here are some tips to simplify healthy school lunches:
Meat and alternatives
Hard boil a dozen eggs or make a batch of bean salad to provide protein for the week.
Veggies and fruit
Cut plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit so you don’t have to do this every day.
Choose healthier options like whole grain breads or brown rice.
Consider making unsalted popcorn or a trail mix of seeds, nuts and low-sugar cereal, like bit-sized shredded wheat.
Get in an extra serving of dairy with yogurt that’s low in add-ins like sugar and preservatives.
Juice boxes are convenient, but full of sugar. Instead pack a re-usable water bottle.
It is also important to pay attention to your kids’ digestive health
Diarrhea? Try reducing sugar
Constipation? Add more fibre
Reflux or bloating? Cut back on high-fat and processed foods
Digestive issues can suggest a larger underlying problem. If your child has ongoing digestive problems, talk to your family doctor.
Making the most of kids’ mealtimes
Has your child ever complained of digestive discomfort? Follow this simple cheat sheet for advice on how to keep your kid’s gut healthy:
Check out our back to school booklet for tips on other common topics.