VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 4 CATEGORY: Nutrition & Healthy Eating POSTED ON: 7/23/2012
Children want lunches that taste good and keep them full, and parents want a healthy meal for their growing, active children
Healthy Lunches for Children • Involve your children in grocery shopping and Good Good Nutrition = Learning planning their lunch. • Let your children make their own lunch, choosing foods from Canada’s Food Guide.. Children want lunches that taste good and keep them full, and parents want a healthy meal for their • Add interest by combining new foods with old growing, active children. Children learn and focus favourites. better when they eat foods from the four food groups • Everyone enjoys a surprise. How about a secret in Canada’s Food Guide. Nutritious lunches and snacks note, sticker or cartoon with lunch? are best when they are tasty, handy, fun to • Take time after dinner to prepare a healthy eat, and safe from bacteria. lunch with your children for the next day. What is a “My children eat the same food every day!” healthy lunch Your children are developing their tastes for children? and may be very choosy about what they will eat. The more often they see Include a variety of foods from at new foods, the more likely they will least three of the four food taste them and learn to accept them. groups: Vegetables & Fruit, Grain Don’t give up if your children refuse a Products, Milk and Alternatives, and new food. Sometimes it takes up to Meat and Alternatives. Children are 12 attempts before a new food is eating too much fat, sugar, and salt, accepted. Help your children to accept a and not enough vegetables, fruit, milk wider selection of foods by: products and whole grain foods. Unhealthy lunches • Being a role model. Set an example by trying new at school are part of the problem. foods yourself. • Offering small amounts of the new food with a Preparing a healthy lunch familiar one. for your children 80% of children are eating lunch at school; No meal is a good meal if it is not eaten. Work it is important that the foods they eat keep together with your children to make a tasty and them healthy and help them learn. healthy lunch that they will enjoy eating. • Encouraging children to get to know Beyond Sandwiches new foods by including them in Sandwiches may be growing, buying, preparing or convenient, but they are not serving these new foods. the only way to have a • Respecting that children have delicious, nutritious lunch. their own likes and dislikes. What about cold pasta salad, a slice of pizza, a “It’s just so easy to pick up chicken leg, a hard-boiled something ready to go and egg or a bean burrito. Hot pack it in the lunch bag!” soups, stews, chili, baked beans Convenience foods are expensive and or spaghetti can also be carried to high in fat, sugar and salt. It may be school in a wide mouth thermos. the fancy packaging that interests your children, so try packing healthier foods in Vegetables and Fruit fun packages. Try coloured lunch bags or Include 1 to 2 servings of Vegetables plastic containers, add stickers, special and Fruit in lunches for nutrient napkins and colourful straws for drinks. needs, and to add colour, texture and flavour to the meal. Choose dark Check out page 4 for ideas to help you green and orange choices such as pack healthier lunches. green pepper rings, broccoli florets, baby carrots, diced cantaloupe and mango pieces. Jazz up that Sandwich Fruit makes a great finish to lunch, whether it is • Look for different types of whole grain bread or fresh, canned in its own juices or in light syrup. try two different types of bread in a sandwich. Sliced turkey Beverages may be tastier on Even drinks can help make a lunch healthy. pumpernickel, multi- Try water – a thermos filled with cold tap water grain or whole wheat or a refillable container is a great idea. bread. Crusty rolls, bagels, rice cakes, Choose milk! Children who drink milk at crackers, English lunch are more likely to meet their daily muffins or pita bread calcium needs. Chocolate milk is just as all add variety. nutritious as white milk and provides lots of energy plus 15 essential nutrients. Chocolate • Try combinations of milk contains about the same amount of sandwich fillings to sugar as an equal amount of 100% give new flavours orange juice. to old ideas: - Canned light 100% Juice has some vitamins but no tuna with sliced fibre, so have vegetables and fruit more apples and raisins often than juice. When choosing juice, look for labels that say “100% fruit juice.” When the label - Lower-fat cheese with cucumber slices says drink, beverage, ade, cocktail or delight, the - Egg salad with grated carrot, diced green pepper product contains mostly sugar and water. and chopped celery - Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese with orange Check to see if your children’s school has segments a milk program and sign up so that they - Hummus with roasted red pepper pieces can have milk at school every day. refrigerator. To keep hot foods hot, use an Snack Time insulated bottle or thermos. First, fill it with Snacks are important because boiling water and let it stand for a few minutes. children cannot eat as much Then empty the bottle and fill it with the hot food as an adult can at any food. one time. Your children need • Only use fresh foods or leftovers a good supply of energy and which are not more than one day old. nutrients to play, grow and • Clean lunch boxes, thermal bags, learn. As often as possible, plastic containers and all utensils the snacks that go to school every day in hot, soapy water. Do not with lunch should pack lots of re-use wrappings, as they may carry nutrition in quick, tasty bites. bacteria. Fruit, vegetables, cheese, • Wash all vegetables and fruit well milk, yogurt, muffins, under cold running tap water. breadsticks, whole grain crackers or plain popcorn are all great snacks. Limit cake, Lunches for a granola bars and cookies, since they tend to be high in fat and sugar. Choose foods Happy Planet from the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide. • Use cloth or nylon bags, thermal bags or lunch boxes, instead of paper or plastic bags. Keeping Lunch Safe • Use reusable plastic containers for sandwiches and other lunch foods. A healthy lunch is also a safe lunch. • Pack metal spoons or forks for lunches • Start with a clean counter, clean instead of disposable plastic cutlery. fork or spoon, and freshly washed hands. • Try a thermos, plastic cup or reusable water bottle with a • Foods that might spoil tight-fitting lid for beverages. should be carried in an insulated bag to • Include a washable cloth keep them cold. napkin – maybe in a different colour each day – • To keep food cold, instead of using paper use frozen bread products. for sandwiches, pack a frozen juice • Buy local fruits and box or freezer pack vegetables in season as with the lunch. much as possible. Try to buy only as much as you • Pack cold foods need to avoid wasting food. directly from the Reading Food Labels Read food labels and chose those products with as little saturated and trans fat as possible. Avoid products that are partially hydrogenated and contain vegetable shortening. Limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt (sodium). Adapted from material developed by Toronto Public Health, Peel Health Department and York Region Health Services. For more information please call Toronto Health Connection at 416-338-7600 to speak with a Dietitian. For additional issues of Nutrition Matters, refer to publications on our Web site at www.toronto.ca/health. September 2007 PH0707SS0102
"Healthy Lunches for Children"