Good Nutrition to Fuel Adventure
We all want to ensure that our children are getting good nutrition. It is one of the most important things we do for our kids: provide them with the food that will fuel their bodies, for work (school) and play. I would love it if my kids gobbled up kale, spinach and salmon, along with a nice quinoa salad and a homemade flax seed cookie for dessert. The reality is that they don’t love a lot of the foods I know are most healthy for them. We continue to offer them a variety of foods, insist they try new things, and limit their sugar and processed foods, but it can be a frustrating process. Your child’s school lunches and snacks are a major source of the essential vitamins and minerals they need to grow and develop over the years. The foods you pack for your child will give them the energy and nutrients they need to learn and play at school. Without enough energy from food, they may feel tired and find it difficult to concentrate in class.
One of things that I am working on is to improve the quality of what my children have in their school lunch each day. Here are some tips to healthier lunch box lunches:
- Send a re-usable filled water bottle each day to school. Even “100% juice – no sugar added” juice boxes contain an average of 38g of natural sugar. That is equal to approximately nine teaspoons of granulated sugar.
- Limit the number of processed foods you send (the sodium content can be outrageous!). Try only packing food bought from the outside perimeter of the grocery store which are mostly ‘whole’ foods!
- Think food groups. Aim to have at least three of the four food groups represented in your child’s lunch. Check out Canada’s Food Guide to review the food groups.
- Think outside the sandwich! Get creative when choosing items for your child’s lunch. Kids love ‘Bento Box’ type lunches which include a little bit of many things all cut-up.
- Sometimes changing something as simple as the type of grain works well. For example, using pita, flatbread, tortilla, or cereal instead of bread can make lunch more interesting for your little eater. Use a cookie cutter to create interesting shapes!
- For snacks, try fresh fruit, yogurt, cut up veggies, whole grain crackers with a cheese stick, nut-free trail mix, muffins
- Switch up the veggies and fruit. Give your kids something different to experience with each bite. Group foods according to: Type (citrus, tropical); color (green, red, orange, yellow, purple); shape (balls, strips, chunks, whole); or texture (soft, juicy, crunchy)
Sample lunch #1: Pepper strips with hummus dip, and cheese-filled pasta with tomato sauce.
Sample lunch #2: Chicken skewer in a whole wheat tortilla wrap with shredded lettuce and grated carrot. Add a fruit yogurt on the side.
Sample lunch #3:
Why not breakfast for lunch? Hot cereal in a thermos topped with frozen berries with a cold milk or soy beverage.
At KCS, we also offer a hot lunch program from Real Food for Real Kids
Overall, the goal is to ensure that our kids are well fueled for all of life’s adventures!
Director of Athletics
Kingsway College School