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The kids are back in school and with that parents resume the job of packing lunches. Healthy lunches and snacks are essential in providing the required nutrients and minerals a child will need to keep up the energy they need to learn and play at school.

Every child has different energy needs which can change from day to day over time. Most schools will send uneaten food home so the parent will know how much food was consumed, which is very helpful in determining how much your child actually needs. During growth spurts, a child will likely feel hungrier and will need some extra food (an apple or crackers) to take with them to get them through the day.

Five reasons to create a healthy lunchbox:

  1. Healthy foods make smarter kids. Current research shows a positive link between good foods and increased academic performance.
  2. A good lunch with a morning and afternoon snack will keep your child active and energetic throughout the day. 
  3. Eating nutritious foods and keeping processed foods to a minimum will keep your child at a healthy weight.
  4. Healthy foods mean a healthy body! Good foods means strong bones, muscles and a strong immune system.
  5. Good habits for life! One of the best ways to get your child to eat healthy is to start young. If you introduce nutritious foods when they are babies, they will get accustomed to eating the right foods early on and will be more likely to continue to eat them as they get older.

Five tips for getting your child to eat healthy:

  1. Make food fun! Use bright coloured foods and cut them into various shapes. Carrots and celery can be cut into thin strings.
  2. Get your children involved in prepping the food because they are more likely to eat it if they’ve taken part in it’s creation.
  3. Combine their treats with healthy food. Instead of regular cake, try making zucchini or banana bread. Some dips or sauces can be healthy such as a mild salsa or hummus that can be paired with chopped veggies.
  4. Some ideas for mid-morning and afternoon snacks include: a piece of fruit, a low or non-fat yogurt cup, unsalted or graham crackers and nut-free trail mix.
  5. Include a variety of foods that contain multiple colours, textures and tastes. Although some children may prefer to eat the same thing every day, you can switch up the types of fruit and vegetables, the type of bread for sandwiches or kind of cheese.

It’s good to remember that every school will have a different policy for dealing with food allergies, some may be school-wide and others may be restricted to certain classrooms. When packing lunches, it’s recommended that parents be aware of the various allergies that other students in the class may have and plan accordingly.

      References from the SIRC Collection:

      1. HELP YOUR CHILD SUCCEED with Proper Meal Planning. American Fitness. July 2011;29(4):62.
      2. Mayoh T. A Passionate Mum Making a Difference: Healthy Lunch Boxes. ACHPER Active & Healthy Magazine. December 2010;17(3/4):5-7.
      3. McCary J. Help to Create a Wellness Program for Your Local Schools. IDEA Fitness Journal. March 2007;4(3):56-64.
      4. Lofshult D. better diet, better school grades. IDEA Fitness Journal. May 2008;5(5):57.
      5. PICKY EATERS FIND APPETITE BOOST WITH colorful PLATES. American Fitness. May 2012;30(3):62-63.
      7. Wundersitz S. Improving healthy eating and physical activity at school. ACHPER Active & Healthy Magazine. August 2013;20(2):17-18.

      The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.