Nutrition is a big part of the overall health of children. It gives them the proper fuel and energy they need to feel great in their daily life and in the pool! With school back in full swing, we have put together some helpful tips for packing a nutritious and healthy school lunch that your child will enjoy!
Remember the Food Groups
An important part of nutrition is eating a balanced diet. This can be achieved by thinking about the different food groups and incorporating some foods from each section into your child’s meal. Including fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen), whole grains (sandwich bread and wraps), lean protein (chicken and deli meats), and low-fat dairy (yogurt and cheese) will ensure your child is getting the different nutrients their body’s need.
Avoid Processed Snacks
Many popular snacks nowadays aren’t very healthy due to a lack of nutrients and being high in sugar and saturated fats. The best way to avoid these is by hand-packing your own snacks. They don’t have to be overly complicated, as foods like nuts (check the school’s allergy regulations first), celery sticks, and raisins can go a long way!
Keep Your Child Hydrated
To go along with the food, your child will need to stay hydrated during their lunch break and the entire day. While it’s tempting to send them off with sugary drinks, it’s important for them to be drinking the recommended 6-8 cups of water a day. A great way to help them drink plenty of water is to make it a daily goal for them. Create a tally chart that allows them to get a tick for every cup they’ve drank that day. This way, the child will feel like they are completing a challenge to have fun while staying hydrated!
Give Your Child a Say
While it’s great to make a healthy lunch for your child, it’s no use to them if they refuse to eat it or are throwing part of it away. That’s why it’s important to involve them in the preparation stage and give them some say as to what they do and don’t like. Give them the option between three healthy foods and let them pick their favourite of the three. That way, they still feel as though they are choosing their own lunch and will be much more likely to eat something they’ve chosen rather than been forced.