September has arrived and the school lunch-packing season begins.
The question is always, what should I send for my child’s lunch?
What we consider a basic healthy meal is some kind of whole grain carbohydrate (bread, pasta, rice…etc), a protein (eggs, milk, cheese, beans, seeds, poultry, fish, meat) and then a veggie or fruit (or both) and water to drink.
Try incorporate different colours and textures.
Remember: the best way to get your child to eat their lunch is to get them involved in the planning and preparation.
Sandwiches are always easy meals, and a traditional standby, but here are some other ideas:
Salad on a stick: cut-up cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, (or whatever veggies they like) with cubes of feta or mozzarella cheese and put on small skewers. These are more fun to eat than regular salad and do not require cutlery.
Mini pizzas: take a whole wheat pita or English muffin, top with a little tomato sauce and whatever toppings your kids like. Melt in toaster oven or oven.
Yogurt-fruit-granola parfait: put yogurt, frozen berries and sprinkle some granola in layers in a little Tupperware container.
Edamame: this is a popular bean that can be bought in the freezer section of the grocery store, either in its pod or shelled.
They can be eaten plain or added to pasta or salad. They can also be tossed in oil and dry-roasted in the oven (375 degrees for 50 minutes) for a crunchy snack.
Trail mix: Mix a low-sugar whole grain cereal with seeds, dried fruits and a couple pretzels. If allowed at your school, you can add nuts as well.
Veggies and dip: kids love dipping. The problem with vegetables is taking the time to cut and peel them. If you prepare a large container of cut-up veggies in the beginning of the week, you can add a quick handful to lunches every day.
Leftovers: leftovers from supper are often good lunches.
The only trick is to use a cooler or ice pack if you are sending animal protein.
– Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital. If you have nutrition questions for Serena, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward them to her