Tips for packing nutritious lunches and making school lunchtimes fun
Lunchtime at school is an important part of the day when students can:
- Take a break
- Have fun with friends
Create a pleasant environment and help families pack nutritious lunches. This will “set the table” for better learning!
Check out our quick tips. They explain the school lunchtime roles that school teams, parents and children each play. Feel free to share these tips with parents!
What should children eat?
A variety of foods (e.g., vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grain products, legumes, eggs, tofu, meats).
What should children drink?
Milk or water.
How should children eat?
In a calm setting with a pleasant atmosphere. This helps children listen to their hunger and satisfaction cues. Children should also be given at least 15 to 20 minutes to eat.
School daycares face several constraints. But by being creative and working with the school team, it is possible to improve:
- Scheduling of meals
- Selection and adaptation of the spaces in which children eat
- Mealtime atmosphere
The school team is in an ideal position to raise children’s awareness about the importance of healthy eating.
- Conduct nutrition education activities
- Provide healthy oversight of meals and snacks
- Convey healthy eating messages
- Incorporate nutrition activities into their classrooms and the gym
Children like foods first and foremost for their taste and appearance. With that in mind, adults should pack nutritious, appetizing and delicious foods into lunch boxes! Here are a few ideas to share with children and their families:
- Whole wheat tortilla + cooked chicken + lettuce and minced green onion + grated Cheddar cheese
- Ciabatta + tofu or legume-based spread (e.g., hummus) + stir-fried onion and mushroom slices cooked the night before + slice of Swiss cheese
- Whole wheat sub bun + canned tuna + grated carrot and cucumber slices + plain yogurt
- Sliced multi-grain bread + mashed hard-boiled eggs + romaine lettuce, diced celery and minced green onion + Ricotta cheese and plain yogurt
You could add many more ingredients such as mashed avocado, herbs, salsa or baby spinach!
- Brown rice + red beans + corn kernels, diced tomato and minced green onion + crumbled Feta cheese
- Bulgur + diced cooked chicken + fresh broccoli florets, diced red bell pepper, black olives and sliced red onion + grated Mozzarella cheese
- Whole wheat penne + hard-boiled egg + tomato wedges, canned artichoke hearts, diced orange bell pepper and chopped green onion + cubes of Gouda cheese
- Quinoa or couscous + canned lentils + diced apple, raisins, chopped green beans and chopped celery + plain yogurt
There are many ways to jazz up your salad; for example, add pesto, a salad dressing of your choice or lemon juice!
Nothing could be easier than leftovers you can heat up in the microwave or keep hot in a Thermos. The possibilities are endless:
- Meal soup
- Salmon or tuna loaf
- Tofu veggie stir-fry with rice
Need tips on planning and packing lunches? Get a free copy of the brochure Lunch Box and Snack Essentials. It contains a wealth of information for parents!
Looking for recipe ideas? Visit cuisinonsenfamille.ca! (in French only)