Packing School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

Sep 19, 2020 | Nutrition | 0 comments

By Kate Parsons RD

This back to school season might look a little different than other years, but one thing hasn’t changed…. the struggle of packing your kids’ lunch. We all want what’s best for our kids, and nutritious eating is one way to keep them healthy and happy. But between hectic schedules, global pandemics, and picky eaters, this isn’t always the easiest task.

HEALTHY DOESn’T MEAN PERFECT

Healthy eating isn’t like a light switch that you just flip on and off. It’s a gradual process of making small changes to our habits and food choices over time. We don’t have to be perfect to eat healthfully and this is a great mindset to have for ourselves, but also for our kids. If we can help them make small improvements to their eating habits over time, these are going to have big impacts over the course of their lives. So, while it can be challenging, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Help your kids develop a healthy attitude towards food by not stressing over the perfect lunch

GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED 

Kids are more open to trying new things and eating nutritious foods when they have a say in it. Make a list with your kids of foods that they like or are open to trying. Think of options that will be high in protein (like meats, dairy and legumes) and fibre (like whole grains, legumes and fruits and vegetables) to help keep them full throughout the day. Use this list to make up lunch meals. Rotate often so that your kids don’t get tired of eating the same things. You can even have your kids help with the grocery shopping and meal prep. Keeping them involved in the process helps them learn about healthy eating and be more invested in the process. It might also help take some of the load off of your own shoulders!

KEEP IT BALANCED

Canada’s Food Guide recommends to choose lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, and protein foods. Ultraprocessed foods should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts, but doesn’t mean they don’t have a place at all. Have your child pick one or two foods from each of the food groups as part of a balanced lunch. And when you have to resort to some processed foods for convenience sake, pairing these with some more nutritious options like raw veggies or fruit helps to make sure your kids are still getting something nutritious.

 


TREATS ARE OK!

There are no “bad” foods, and it’s ok to add some treats to your kids’ lunch box sometimes. While it’s the parents’ job to set limits, this doesn’t mean cutting out all the fun. We want our kids to grow up with a healthy relationship with food, so we should be teaching them that all foods can fit into a healthy diet. Focus on the nutritious food choices first and making sure there are plenty of those. Treats can then be added in smaller amounts.

Do you need help with this?
That’s what registered dietitians do!

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