Friday, September 20, 2013

Beat the Back-to-School Rush - School Lunch Ideas from Health Canada

So we're a couple of weeks in to the new school year. How are you doing with those lunches? Are you starting to run out of ideas already? Especially if you have a picky eater like I do, the lunch box rut can happen so quickly!

two girls eating lunch at school
Image from
I've been finding that Little Boo just isn't eating much of anything at lunch. He claims they aren't given enough time, but I know it's because he gets distracted talking to his friends. So my challenge is to give him a good variety of foods that are super easy to eat. And since he's eating so little, I'm trying to make sure everything in there has some nutritional punch.

Health Canada is naturally very concerned with our eating habits, since a nutritious diet is a huge part of our overall health. They've launched the Eat Well campaign as a way to share important information on nutrition, as well as tips to help us make healthy food choices.

The Eat Well website includes an introduction to nutrition labels and how to read them, as well as an explanation of the Canada Food Guide. There's tips on meal planning and grocery shopping with kids, eating well in the summer, and (important to me!) making healthy school lunches. (There's lots more - the scoop on trans fat, tips for eating healthy when eating out, etc. I encourage you to go have a look for yourself! It's a great resource site.)

The campaign also includes videos, like this one in which registered dietitian Zannat Reza and chef Christine Cushing answer a question from Lauralyn Chow of Calgary, Alberta: “Do you have any ideas for making packed lunches for those days when I’m in a rush, and I need something quick?” They have some healthy, delicious, and time-saving ideas.

Health Canada provides the following "Five tips for packing healthy lunches":

  • On the weekend, plan school lunches with your kids for the week ahead. Try to include three of the four food groups in every lunch. 
  • Stock up on healthy grab-and-go foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grain pita pockets, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs. 
  • Use dinner leftovers to make quick and easy lunches the following day. 
  • Prep as much of the lunch as you can the night before. Spend a few extra minutes when preparing dinner to cut up extra veggies and fruit for tomorrow's lunch. 
  • Get the kids involved. Let them plan the menu, write the grocery list, shop for food, and make the lunches… with your help of course! Kids who help make and pack their lunch are more likely to eat it too.
Source: Eat Well 

I'm not so good at the planning and preparing in advance, but I'm pretty good at the grab-and-go stash. (Yogourt tubes and Babybel cheese for the win!) That really is my lifesaver. Though I do wash grapes and cut up watermelon in advance, so I guess I'm doing ok.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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