Back to school season is finally here, which also means packing countless lunches for your kids throughout the year. Although this year is a little different due to the pandemic, whether your child is at home or school, it is essential to provide them with healthy and delicious meals and snacks. With a nutritious lunchbox it helps to keep your child energized, ready to learn in the classroom, and so importantly, helps with their growth and development.
Lunch box essentials include: fruit, vegetable, (aim for half of the meal colorful and crunchy) protein-rich food such as meat or plant-based protein, and whole-grain or starchy vegetables. This allows the child to get a balance source of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into their diet.
Another tip is to try to get the kids involved in making their lunch. The more involved kids, such as packing or picking process, the more likely they are actually to eat what is packed
You may want to give them a couple of choices.
(I have learned from experience that if given the entirety of the kitchen to choose from, you may become the short-order cook or they may choose less desirable items)
Here are some healthy and easy lunch ideas:
On busier days, you can also re-purpose dinner leftovers for the next school day and try to pre-prep veggies/fruits and meals in advance on the days that you are the least busy.
When it comes to selecting snacks, many processed ones contain a significant amount of added sugars, sodium, and fats. It is essential to compare nutrition labels in order to choose the healthier option. Here are some healthy snack ideas:
Try a few out. Sometimes, going outside the comfort zone, you’d be surprised what kids will eat!
Nutrition Month 2018...
Unlocking the Potential of Food... this campaign is one of my favourites as although I am not a foodie (wish I were, and perhaps one day I might be). I do enjoy food, cooking and especially luv to bake... which is likely part of the reason my wonderful Mom steered me in the direction of dietetics.
One of my go to's in this years campaign is fostering healthy diet habits with children. I was a picky eater , well I tried so did my two sisters. We didn't get away with much but we certainly tried. And all too often I see children in my practice whose parents state "they won't eat anything'. 'they wont eat fruit and/ or vegetables ' 'they won't try anything.'.. leaving the parents to play short order cook making two and sometimes three meals. Isn't planning 7 dinner meals a week enough compared to double that trying to appease different preferences.?
The sooner children are exposed to every day choices as well as new tastes.. the easier meals are and the more fuel building nutrients in their day. From joining in the grocery shopping, (indeed, my son very often joined me for grocery shopping especially on Saturdays when the grocery store featured samples of different items); having kids help out with food preparation and cooking, the more likely that children will try new foods, consume the majority of their meal and families overall having happier meal times.
A few tips ...
Choosing recipes together empowers children- gives them a sense of worth, control if you will- that they are contributing . There are many online sites as well as books featuring cooking with kids; one particular series I often reference is the-looneyspoons-collection. There are so many great recipes with basic staples and fun recipe titles in addition to well researched nutrition information / tidbits.
Shopping for new vegetables and fruits - I often give my families a handout with an alphabetical listing that incorporates learning the ABCs, spelling, origin of various fruits and vegetables .
Keeping it fun - very often my son would help with dinner prep (yes, these little beings are quite capable ) . Kitchen helpers can be 2-3 years old washing fruit and vegetables; 3-4 years can mash potatoes or mix batters; 4-6 year olds can measure ingredients and set the table; 6-8 year olds can toss salad ingredients and make a simple breakfast. Again, the more they are exposed to foods, the more likely they will try them and feel empowered that they can be a 'foodie' helper . Let's not forget teens- quite able to prepare and assemble recipes and perhaps be delegated to make one meal a week. This year's campaign- http://nutritionmonth2018.ca also references making dinner theme nights, ' playing restaurant' or even the latest craze reality cooking shows ! . cookspiration is a great tool and of course has a App to download
So let's be a role model for our children, whether you are co-parenting or single parenting, fostering healthy eating and exercise habits in children is important in their physical and mental growth. I am happy to help you and your family 'unlock your food potential'.
CONTACT ME TODAY for more...
Apparently by the second week of February 80% of New Years resolutions fail, just caught a glimpse of this on the news the other evening. They also say it does take 66 days to form a habit (perhaps the 21 days is now old news?).
February is heart month.. what a better reason to work on our resolutions to eat well, exercise well, time management... (my personal long term resolution needing ongoing attention)
That said, resolutions or not, one should always take to heart...one's health. A quote, unknown author, " your health is a wondrous treasure you own... guard it relentlessly".
One should practice taking a mindful approach to eating... heart disease, diabetes, cancer, nutrient deficiencies ... the list goes on.
What is mindful eating? A practice, a technique that helps us connect with true hunger, satiety and fullness; it is something we each are born with. Babies are born with the innate ability to know when they are hungry; unfortunately we teach or we learn to ignore the satiety marker and move on to reach a 'fullness' after a meal. Re-learnng the 'what, when, where, why and how much" of eating will help us to consume the right amount of food your body actually needs, versus just ' wants'. (don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy food - ice-cream and pasta being two of my favourites) and continually remind myself of wants versus needs.
With an underestimated abundance of food in our world, these internal hunger cues, to the extreme of feeling full are often ignored... external influences including packaging, oversized plates and coffee cups (how often do we use or purchase an 8oz. coffee be it at home or takeout ?)
A beginning to mindful eating:
1.Listen to hunger cues
2. Eat sitting at the table
3. Food should be esthetically pleasing
4. Eat slowly, appreciate the taste and textures
5. Create a calm environment
6. Minimize distractions...
Sound familiar? Have you ever watched a baby eat?
So let's take are of our heart.... our bodies... our minds. Learn to be mindful of the what, where, when, how and the why's .. of eating.
Yes, this takes motivation... willpower.. which we all have; we just need to learn and find the right tools.
Contact me for more info,
According to a recent insert by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, unlike what some fad diets suggest, eliminating a food group is not necessarily a good idea. Cutting out grains, for example (especially whole grains) which have been linked into a decreased risk of obesity - can reduce your intake of dietary fibre.
A high fibre diet can reduce symptoms of bowel irregularity; help manage cholesterol and aid in achieving meal satiety.
Confused about all this information? Feel free to contact me and I'll gladly help.
©2019 Catherine Semenick RD
539 Memorial Ave.
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada