Back to School: Healthy school lunches

Back to School: Healthy school lunches

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.

Whole grains
Choose healthier options like whole grain breads or brown rice.

Healthy snacks
Consider making unsalted popcorn or a trail mix of seeds, nuts and low-sugar cereal, like bit-sized shredded wheat.

Dairy
Get in an extra serving of dairy with yogurt that’s low in add-ins like sugar and preservatives.

Hydration
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.

Check out our back to school booklet for tips on other common topics.