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Healthy Lunch Boxes
Lunch is an important meal as it provides continued energy for children in order to play and learn for the remainder of the day. But packing a healthy lunch can be a challenge for many parents! Read on for tips and ideas for putting together a quick, but healthy, lunch box for your child.
Lunches can be made interesting by varying the foods you choose, and well as color and texture. A complete lunch is one that includes at least one item from each food group.
- Vegetable and fruit for vitamins and minerals
- Grain products for energy
- Milk and alternatives for strong and healthy bones
- Meat and alternatives for muscles and a healthy body
Get children involved by preparing lunch together the night before, to avoid the morning rush.
- Prepare sandwiches ahead of time and freeze(except those prepared with eggs, mayonnaise and raw veggies). Remove from freezer in the morning and they will thaw in time for lunch.
- Always wash fruits and vegetables to remove dirt and chemicals.
- A frozen 100% fruit juice box can be used as an ice pack.
- Choose 100% fruit juice and avoid those labelled as ‘cocktail’, ‘beverage’ or ‘drink’. These contain a lot of sugar, coloring and flavouring. They are not real juice. Look for 100% pure juice, concentrate, unsweetened.
- Limit other foods such as chips, soft drinks, cakes, candies, chocolate and cookies. They are not part of the 4 food groups, and should only be eaten occasionally and in moderation.
- Heat and eat! Microwave leftover pasta, stir-fry with rice, chili, stew or casseroles for a quick fix. Enjoy with a glass of milk or fortified soy beverage and a piece of fruit.
- Toss it! Take mixed salad greens and toss with fresh or grilled chopped vegetables, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar dressing. Serve with whole grain bread or put in a pita.
- Soup it up! Try black bean, tomato with lentils, squash, carrot, cauliflower or broccoli soup. Enjoy soup with a pumpernickel or whole wheat bagel and a slice of cheese.
- Wrap it! Make up tuna, salmon or egg salad – wrap in a whole wheat tortilla with green onions, grated green peppers and lettuce. Have with a glass of fortified soy beverage or a container of yogurt.
- Snack it! Have hummus and dip with whole wheat pita bread, baby carrots,and sliced peppers. Enjoy with cut up melon and a glass of milk.
- Spicy! Enjoy some vegetable curry on noodles and a low fat yogurt for dessert.
- Savoury soup! Heat up some lentil soup and have baby carrots, a whole grain bagel and one slice of cheese.
- Fill your pocket! Spread hummus on the inside of a whole wheat pita and fill with vegetables such as dark green romaine lettuce and shredded carrots. Finish it off with a glass of milk.
- Pack it! Use an insulated container with a freezer pack to keep your lunch cold and safe to eat.
Colorful Lunches flyer, Santé et services sociaux Québec
The Winning Lunch Box!, EMSB newsletter