By Shana Daniel, R.H.N.
School is right around the corner, and the task of lunchbox creations may already be a daunting thought for some.
Chances are, your children have blossomed over the summer months. Between their sunshine socializing, an abundance of local produce consumption and BBQ evenings with loved ones, the routine once again switches to hectic morning breakfasts and last-minute snack/lunch/snack packs.
It’s easy to see that convenience is at our fingertips when it comes to grocery shopping with packing in mind. Minis of everything are everywhere, and if that isn’t your style, recyclable containers come in all shapes and sizes to create your own.
My Top 5 Tips to engage your kids in lunch packing:
- Ask your kids to come up with three of their favourite foods.
- While packing, give them an age-related task whether it’s chopping fruit or veggies or portioning into their lunchbox
- We all know water is best yet sometimes after a hot summer of cold water drinking, our kids need more motivation to pick up those sippy cups. Adding fresh fruit, mint or chopped ginger may give the extra zip they need. You can have them add fresh blueberries or raspberries to ice cubes and place them in the cup to keep cool for an extended period while at school.
- Post-it notes are a fun way to remind your kids when they open their lunchbox that you’re thinking of them. Make it fun. A silly face or expression of love will keep them curious and keep those lunchboxes opening each school day.
- Who doesn’t love a treat? Teaching your kids to eat sequentially (a sweet treat after their lunch) is more sensible than abstaining from giving them something fun after their lunch. Moderate with sugars and look for or create treats which are nutrient-dense yet exciting for your kids to eat.
My Top 6 Lunch Faves:
- Mini pitas with egg salad (seasoned to your taste preferences), sliced apple and yogurt dip
- Leftovers are great. Make some fresh pasta in the morning, add leftovers to it and remember to add extra sauce to keep it warm in a thermos for later in the day
- We all know how passé lunch meats are, but consider that there are brands of roast beef or turkey at the counter which are nitrate-free and low in sodium which are high in protein and accompanied with your kids fave dips can make a delicious sandwich! Snow peas are fun for kids to pick away at as a fun accompaniment too!
- Stoneground crackers and mini triangles of cheese make a fun way for your kids to create their own – cherry tomatoes and cucumber rounds on the side are popular go to’s for a finger food meal like this one
- As healthy as broccoli and cauliflower are, eating them raw aren’t as palatable as they could be by steaming in advance. Pair with a creamy dip and don’t forget that falafel or chickpeas make a great finger food accompaniment as well.
- Vegetable sushi boats a balanced mix of just enough veggies with avocado and carbs to fuel your child’s day. Often teamed with soy sauce, give coconut nectar a try and see how more nutritionally significant this replacement can be. Accompany with some fresh blueberries or grapes.
Remember your healthy fats to keep your kiddos satiated throughout their days of learning and happy lunch packing.