It’s an exciting time for parents, children and families as this school year begins. Time to prepare mentally, emotionally and financially for the year ahead; while shopping for back to school clothes and supplies. As stress levels are on the rise, it’s important to nurture ourselves during this transition.
Feeling stressed just thinking about the busy year ahead? Frustrated when trying to figure out which foods to put in your child’s lunch box? Worried about the extra financial costs the school year will bring?
Here are some healthy lunch box ideas to jazz things up with convenient
ease for you and your family while respecting a savvy budget!
- Be sure to double check with your
child’s school for a list of any food allergies, so that you can plan
meals and snacks appropriately. Common allergies are nuts, eggs, kiwi, strawberries, bananas,
seafood, etc. It is important to respect food allergy lists of foods not
permitted in school as the consequences’ may be life threatening for those
with these allergies.
- Make sure your child’s lunch bag is large enough to hold all containers, drinks and utensils.
- Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold by having the proper thermos and ice packs. Food safety is very important!
- Lack of water tops the list for contributing to day time fatigue, so make sure there’s water in your
childs lunch bag. As well, white milk or alternatives such as Rice Beverage are great high protein drinks
to help maintain your childs energy level, strengthen bones and increase
- For snacks, include fresh fruit (such as grapes, blueberries, plums, melons, apple slices, etc), yogurt, fresh vegetables’ (such as cherry tomato’s; peeled cucumber slices; fresh carrot sticks; fresh red, orange and yellow peppers; etc), crackers (whole wheat or gluten free alternative), cheese and homemade cookies
- Limit processed and packaged foods, such as cheese slices, cheese spread, pre-made meals, etc. Play food detective when reading food labels as claims can be very misleading. Processed foods contribute to a tired, lethargic feeling; increase the appetite; and are low in nutritive value (vitamins, minerals, water, healthy fats, healthy carbs and protein which are important for childhood development)
- Market fresh natural foods to your family by using coloured containers or by placing your children’s favourite stickers on the containers…visit your local discount store for a ton of fun, creative idea’s to spark your child’s interest in healthy foods.
- Build a meal to make your child’s lunch box a healthy balance. Be sure that your child has at least ½ cup of fresh vegetables; 2 oz of healthy, non processed protein and ¼ cup healthy high fibre carbohydrates in every meal.
- To help with savvy budgeting, plan your weekly meals around foods that are on sale in your weekly flyers. Cook extra portions with supper meals, so that there are leftovers for lunch boxes the next day. For example, left over beef stir fry is nice in a wrap for lunch.
Have a Happy & Healthy Day!
Tara K. Antle, BSc.AHN, RHN, RNCP
Nutritionist in Private Practice
47 Leslie Street (Heritage Health Care) 2nd floor
St. John’s, NL