Pathways to Wellness

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School lunch boxes

There isn't a parent who doesn't wish for a magic solution to what to pack for lunch.  It's not surprising that pre-packaged lunches are attractive.  Choosing pre-packaged lunches with crackers, cold cuts and cheese is okay once in a while, but these foods are not good for a steady diet because they are almost always high in salt and fats.

Depending on your child's school or classroom, they may or may not be able to heat up foods.  And sometimes they only have a short period of time to eat.  So it's a good idea to pack a lunch that is ready to eat. 

Here are some ideas to keep bagged lunches interesting and eaten!

  • Switch it up - Offer a variety of foods over the course of the week.  Leftover pizza or roasted chicken one day, a sandwich made with a bagel, wrap, or pita the next.
  • Bite-sized food gets eaten - Nothing gets thrown away faster than whole fruits!  Peel oranges and tangerines, include grapes, and cut up apples or pears into slices.   Include single servings of canned fruit which is packed in fruit juice, rather than syrup.  Cut up cheese into cubes, or use cookie cutters to make cheese slices or lean cold cuts into stars or hearts.
  • Don't forget about veggies - Cut-up carrots, cucumber or celery, and cherry tomatoes are healthy, easy and attractive – especially when they come with a dip.  Low salt and low fat dressings make a good dip, or make your own by spicing up some plain yogurt with herbs, garlic and salt.
  • Make your own trail mix - or better still, let your children experiment with different combinations of dried fruit, nuts and seeds.  Encourage them to find the winning combination!
  • Add a joke or note - Surprise your child with a joke, riddle, cartoon, sticker, tattoo or special note to show you are thinking about them - even when they are in school.

For some quick and easy snacks, many of which are great in school lunches, have a look at this video made by Eat Right Ontario and the Dietitians of Canada.


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