After the lazy days of summer, it can be hard to start thinking about a new school year! Here are some tips to save you time and keep you and your family healthy.
Taking a few minutes at night or on the weekend to plan for lunches and snacks will save you time (and stress!) on school days. It’s worth it!
Tip #1: When you bring home your groceries, wash and chop your vegetables and fruit into school sized snacks. Place in plastic containers so they can be ready when you need them.
Tip #2: Re-organize! Keep all your lunch making supplies like lunch bags, plastic containers, reusable cutlery and napkins in one designated spot in your kitchen. This will make putting together lunches faster and easier.
Tip #3: Pack up dinner leftovers into a microwaveable container, make sandwiches and cut up fruits and veggies for lunch the next day.
Tip #4: Keep your pantry stocked so that you’ll always have kid friendly healthy lunch and snack items. Here’s a list of foods that will help you stay ready for any lunch making emergency.
Check out EatRight Ontario’s family friendly one week menu plan.
Get the kids involved
Tip #5: Work with your children to come up with a weekly lunch plan. Look at the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide and ask your children to name a few items from each food group that they’d like to take to school. Aim to have three of the four food groups included in each lunch.
Tip #6: Let your kids help with preparing and packing their own lunch. Older children can help make sandwiches or stuff pitas, while younger children can place snacks into containers.
Cool and hot lunch ideas, Community Nutritionists Council of BC
Be food safe and allergy free
Since lunches and snacks will be left out at room temperature for most of the day, it’s important to keep the food at a safe temperature to eat.
Tip #7: Place a frozen juice box or reusable water bottle in your kids’ lunch to keep it cold. It will defrost by lunchtime and keep the rest of the food at a safe temperature as well. Hot foods, like leftovers, are best kept in a wide mouth thermos.
Tip #8: Find out your school’s allergy policy and read labels so that you are sending your kids to school with lunches that are safe for their classmates.
For more information visit Allergy Safe Communities.
Don’t forget about activity
As part of the school day, your kids will get at least 20 minutes of physical activity – but Health Canada recommends that children get 90 minutes of activity each day. Here’s how you can help get your kids those extra active minutes.
Tip #9: Challenge your children to reduce their screen time. For example, suggest that they watch one less television show each day and play outside during that time instead.
Tip #10: Lead by example. Plan fun activities as a family – even during the school week. Explore your neighbourhood on foot, visit the local swimming pool or organize a game of street hockey.
Visit Active and Safe Routes to School for advice on getting your kids walking.
Health Canada’s Physical Activity Guides
For more information:
EatRight Ontario’s Healthy School Lunches and Snacks FAQ will answer all your school food questions.
Click here for more articles on school health.
Last Update – August 28, 2014