Many parents want to send their kids to school with homemade food and nothing pre-packaged. But how many parents actually have time for that? Well, it is not as hard as you might think and making two or more day’s worth of lunches can save you time.
Below you will find a guide to get you into the swing of things.
A growing mind and body needs meals with good quality protein, lots of fibre and nutrients from fresh produce and whole grains. It doesn’t need loads of sugar and additives typically found in pre-packaged foods.
For a balanced healthy meal, choose a protein and grain from the options below and include as many vegetables as possible. Vegetables provide enzymes for digestion, vital nutrients and fibre for overall health. They can be included by tucking them into wraps or sandwiches, or as a part of leftovers such as soup or casseroles.
Warming up leftovers and putting them in a good quality thermos is a good alternative to using the microwave at school.
If you are worried about how your child might react to the new lunch plan, get them involved. They can help plan, shop and prepare their lunches. Giving them options and ownership will allow them to learn about preparing balanced meals and make them feel good about their delicious choices.
Protein helps sustain energy and aids in balancing blood-sugar levels:
-nuts, seeds or nut butters (when allowed),
-leftover roast, steak or chicken, fish,
-beans and rice (combining these two foods creates a full protein),
-tofu or tempeh.
Whole grains are a source of essential vitamins and minerals and also provide a high-quality source of fibre to our diets — all of which is crucial for growing bodies:
-wholegrain bread, crackers or wraps,
-leftover brown rice (can add to wraps or serve with leftovers),
-leftover whole grain pasta.
Fresh fruit should be included daily. It can even be pre-washed and chopped for the week to make things easier.
Fresh vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, peppers, avocados, celery, broccoli or cauliflower should also be used. Stock up on your child’s favourites.
You can also make healthy dip by combining plain yogurt, a small amount of pure maple syrup, lemon, salt and dill.
Trail mix is also a great option. Combine your favourite nuts, raisins, oats and coconut for a delicious, sugar free option. My step-daughter’s new favourite variation on this is a scoop full of crunchy organic peanut butter (if allowed of course), topped with unsweetened coconut, which she eats with a spoon.
Whole grain muffins or loaves, homemade rice pudding or stewed fruit make great goodies.
Also make sure your child has access to plenty of water. Some fruit juices are okay, but most are loaded with sugar.
Our Family’s Favourite Recipes
Salmon Dip (2-3 servings)
1 cup leftover baked fish or canned salmon
2 tsp plain yogurt
½ avocado mashed
1 finely chopped pickle
1 medium sized tomato, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix and serve on a wrap, whole grain crackers or brown rice cakes
Bean and Rice Burritos
1 part leftover rice
1 part black beans
Put mixture into wraps along with chopped tomatoes, avocados, mild salsa and grated cheese. Can be heated up or eaten cold.
Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon Countryside with her family and has a diploma in holistic nutrition.
Amoree Briggs lives in the Yukon countryside with her family and has just completed her diploma in holistic nutrition.