Lunchbox Nutrition

Lunchbox Nutrition


Providing a healthy lunch is one of the most important things we can do as parents to ensure that our children have the energy to get them through the day, but it’s not always easy to get them to eat the foods we want.  Here are some tips for making lunch preparation easier and convincing your child to actually eat what you pack.

  1. Let your child help. This is often the first suggestion when a parent is faced with a “picky-eater”. Children like to feel as though they have some control over the decision making process. Allowing them to have some choice over what to eat and help with the shopping and preparation often translates to them being excited to eat the meal they have made.
  2. Plan lunches at the beginning of the week. Meal planning not only cuts down on prep time and food waste but children also like to know what to expect. If they know what’s coming each day for lunch, they are more likely to be prepared to eat it.
  3. Be creative. Just because we grew up eating bologna sandwiches and apples every day for lunch doesn’t mean our children’s lunches need to be boring. Think outside the *lunch*box (haha!) here are some fun lunch ideas:
  • The “Healthy Snacks” Lunch: Include a variety of delicious and healthy snack foods such as cheese cubes, crackers, pepperoni sticks, celery and dip, and raisins.
  • The “Make Your Own” Lunch: Pack all the fixings to make-your-own fajitas: tortillas, seasoned chicken, grated cheese, salsa, and roasted peppers.
  1. Plan lunches using the Canada Food Guide. All students learn about the national food guide as part of their health program. Show them how to put their learning into practice!
  2. Be sensitive. Many children have food dislikes or even sensory issues with certain foods. Be sensitive to their needs and try to work with them to find foods that are both nutritious and tolerable.
  3. Stock up on a variety of healthy foods that provide fuel. Try to choose foods that are high in protein and low in sugar to keep energy levels high. Make healthy substitutions. Instead of potato chips, try pretzels; instead of mayonnaise, try mustard.
  4. If you’re dealing with a picky eater, be persistent. Keep introducing new foods over and over again. Just because they didn’t like it the first time, doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind. Try disguising less favorable foods by mixing it with other foods they like. These chocolate zucchini muffins are always a hit at our house.
  5. Avoid juices, sodas, and milk as substitutes for real food.

Remember, children who do not eat nutritionally-balanced diets often become picky eaters, develop poor eating habits, have increased rates of childhood obesity, and are at risk for diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. With a little planning and persistence, you can provide your child with healthy and delicious lunches.


Leave a Reply