Back to school: Tips to make packing balanced lunches a breeze

Back to school, for many, means a return to packing lunches. And whether in-person or online, registered dietitian with Peterborough Public Health, Luisa Magalhaes, said she has some tips to make the process quick and easy. “Think of that Canada’s Food Guide plate,” she said. “We have three food groupings so start off with lots of vegetables and fruits and lots of different colours.” She said that preparation is key and preparing items in advance makes it quicker to pack and more likely they are eaten at lunch break. [readmore label=”Read more: ” link=”https://globalnews.ca/video/8177427/healthy-back-to-school-lunch-hacks” /] “Kids get distracted at lunchtime and now they will be surrounded by a lot of friends,” said Magalhaes. “The more you cut up the vegetables the more likely they are going to get more in them.” When it comes to grain products, Magalhaes said to choose whole grain items. “Whole grain has more fibre and it keeps kids fuller for longer,” she said. “We do know that a well-fed kid can focus better, which is important.” Again, she added if you can make healthy options in advance it makes assembling the lunch easier. “You just want to be pulling items from each food grouping,” said Magalhaes. “If you make a batch of muffins, pop them in the freezer and you can pull one out each day to toss in the lunch.” [readmore label=”Read more: ” link=”https://globalnews.ca/video/8177147/minna-rhee-shares-some-simple-tips-on-how-to-pack-a-well-balanced-school-lunch” /] She said good ideas for proteins are beans, cheese, tuna and milk and said to think about making extra protein for dinner to cut up leftovers for the next day. If you have a picky eater, Magalhaes said it can help to get them involved in planning and preparing meals. “Take them shopping with you if you can do it COVID-friendly,” she said. “Then they are picking, they are choosing, they are having some ownership over their choices. “Also if they help you pack up that lunch, they are more likely to eat it if they have made some decisions and thought that they had some control over that.” She suggested trying an easy recipe (like the one below) and have the kids help to make it. Easy black bean dip Ingredients: 1 can black beans, rinsed 1 can corn, drained 1 jar of salsa 1/4 cup chopped red onion cilantro & lime (optional) Directions: Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix together, serve with whole grain crackers or use as a taco filling. [readmore label=”Read more: ” link=”https://globalnews.ca/video/6059705/workplace-wellness-packing-a-healthy-lunch” /] When it comes to lunchtime in the classroom, Magalhaes said this is a good time to remind your children about proper COVID-19 protocol. “Have that conversation with them,” she said. “Remind them to wash their hands before and after they eat, not to share their lunch and to put their mask back on after they are finished eating.”

Back to school: Tips to make packing balanced lunches a breeze

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