Getting ready for the school year is an exciting time for kids! Help your child fuel up to learn by packing healthy and tasty lunches and snacks. Children tend to like things they helped make. In early years, kids can help with some of the smaller tasks, such as washing whole fruit. Soon they will start making their own lunches with your help. Stocking the fridge, cupboard and freezer with healthy choices will make it easier. A little planning and preparing ahead of time will make the week go smoother for everyone!
What to Pack - Ideas for Lunches and Snacks:
Keep in mind vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein-rich foods and aim for a little of each. Add milk or water to drink:
- Deli turkey breast; cheese cubes; whole grain crackers; carrot and celery sticks with ranch dip; unsweetened applesauce; mini brownie
- Whole wheat tortilla with beans and cheese, folded in half and heated (do this the night before and pack cold); small container of salsa; cut up melon or other fruit; oatmeal cookie
- Tuna salad; pita wedges; cucumber and tomato slices; yogurt tube (try frozen!); mini chocolate bar
- Leftover pizza; whole fruit (banana, mandarin orange, pear or plum); granola bar (look for 8 grams or less of sugar)
- Bannock; cheese stick or string cheese; fruit cup; baby carrots; homemade trail mix (non-sugary cereal such as Cheerios, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds (nut-safe), and a few chocolate chips)
- Tortilla pinwheels spread with cream cheese or hummus, grated carrot or other vegetables cut up finely, rolled up and sliced into sections; cut up grapes or berries; mini pretzels
- Thermos filled with last night’s heated leftovers (examples: chili, soup, cheesy noodles and vegetables, curried lentils and rice); cut up kiwi or orange; crackers
How to Pack - Food Safety Tips
Buy a fun lunch bag, lunch kit or bento box of your child’s choosing. Reusable containers help reduce the litter and save money. Check out your local dollar store for container options.
- Keep cold foods cold: Choose a lunch bag that is insulated. Some lunch kits have a built-in ice pack, or you can add your ice pack or freeze a water bottle.
- Keep hot foods hot: Use a good quality thermos for packing hot, ready to eat lunches. Fill your thermos with boiling water and let it stand for two minutes. Then pour the water out and put the hot food in right away. This should keep food at a safe temperature until lunch time.
- Wash out or wipe down lunch bags, containers, thermoses and water bottles daily in hot soapy water.
Are you looking for more healthy lunch ideas and recipes? Check out these websites:
Submitted by the Registered Dietitians in Health Promotion