School is back in session and that means filling up lunchboxes with lots of nutricious goodies to feed a hungry mind! But eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. Ottawa Public Health has prepared a list of some easy and fun ways to make healthy lunches part of your child’s everyday routine, giving them lots of energy to play and learn.
**Remember that a healthy lunch should include 3-4 food groups every day!
Such ideas include:
- Ask your child for their favourite lunch and snack ideas.
- Try switching the bread in your child’s lunch. Switch between whole grain pita wraps, tortillas and flatbread.
- Aim to include 2 food groups in your child’s snack. For example, cheese and whole grain crackers or yogurt and a small oatmeal muffin.
- Include your child in lunch planning by bringing them with you to the grocery store, or having them help put foods into containers.
- Most schools in Ottawa require peanut free lunches. Check with your school to see if you should avoid packing peanut butter or foods containing peanuts in your child’s lunch.
- Lunch box food safety is important. Try to make the lunch the night before. Place all the food and beverage items in the fridge overnight. Place all items in an insulated lunch box just before heading out to school. Add a small ice pack, or a food or beverage item that was frozen overnight. These will thaw by lunchtime. If serving hot foods, warm up the thermos with boiling water for a few minutes. Reheat your food and add to your emptied thermos. This will help keep the food hot until lunch time.
Food labels are important as well. If your child has a food allergy, be sure to read the labels on all pre-packaged food. The Ingredient List and the Nutrition Facts Table provide information about the food you are eating. The Ingredient List and the Nutrition Facts Table will help you:
- Choose healthy food more easily
- Compare two products to make better food choices for you and your family Learn about the nutrition information of the foods you eat
- Better manage special diets
Eating healthy is an important part of a child’s development! I hope that all parents and students are making the most of their lunches to fee the best they can be!
For more information on healthy eating, please visit http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/public-health