With school back in session, lunchboxes are at the top of our minds. If your kids gets sick of the same old thing day after day, here are some simple tips and delicious new recipes for Vancouver moms to try. These healthy back-to-school lunch ideas will help you keep it fun and healthy.
Back to School Lunch ideas
1. Offer fun foods
(Tip via Alexandra Inman, Registered Dietitian (RD) at Vancouver Dietitians – www.vancouverdietitians.ca)
“School lunches are a great chance to offer children protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to give them the energy and nutrition they need for school,” Inman said. “Offer your child a variety of nutrient dense foods, but don’t shy away from also packing a cookie or other fun food too!”
Variety is the key to a balanced diet that incorporates all of the nutrition children need for optimal growth and development, she said.
“It’s also a great way to expose children to new and unfamiliar foods that they can learn to enjoy! Don’t stress yourself out trying to make every lunch different but, when planning your groceries each week, think about what new fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats you can add to your shopping list!”
2. Eat a rainbow a day
(Tip via Roxanne Brooks, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and mom of 2)
“Healthy lunches will give your children the energy to learn well, stay focused and avoid blood sugar spikes that can lead to bursts of energy,” she said. “Aim to eat “a rainbow a day” — a diet that is rich is bright colours. It is fun for kids and an easy way to get in a ton of vitamins and minerals.”
Eating a variety of complex carbs (whole grains, veggies and fruits), healthy fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, fish, good quality oils) and protein (eggs, tofu, nuts/seed and nut/seed butter, beans and legumes and lean meats) will help with overall health and help support your immune systems, Brooks said.
Here is a simple recipe that you can pre-make and store in the fridge for one week or one month in the freezer:
- 1 cup sunflower seed butter
- 1 cup uncooked rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 2 Tbs chia seeds
- 2 Tbs hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips or fried fruit (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Roll into balls. Refrigerate and enjoy!
3. Keep it simple
(Tip via Janel Viaje, mom of 2 from Langley)
“My oldest daughter is going into grade one and it is super challenging to get her to eat healthy foods,” Viaje said. “She is very talkative and can’t seem to sit still to eat. Some days she would come home with her entire lunch intact, but we found a snack she loves and is easy to make — our own trail mix.”
Trail Mix recipe:
- Nuts: cashew, almonds, pistachios
- A cracker: goldfish crackers or pretzel sticks
- Dried fruit: raisins, mangoes, cranberries
- Other: granola, seaweed
- Mix together and enjoy.
4. Use cookie cutters
(Tip via Laura Goossens, mom of 2 from Abbotsford)
“My son is pretty picky and could live on fruit, cheese and carbs. Veggies are a hard sell with him,” Goossens said. “He loves shaped foods, so I use cookie cutters to make things like heart shaped cheese, dinosaur shaped turkey cutlets, and diamond rice krispy squares.”
5. Get creative
(Jessy Jin, mom of one from Vancouver)
“I consider myself to be quite lucky my son is a foodie. This kid can eat anything and is very experimental,” Jin said. “I love making hot lunches and I always pay attention to how they pack food whenever I order takeout or delivery.”
See the above slide who to see some incredible pictures of how Jessy packs her son’s lunches. Yum!
Show us your healthy back-to-school lunch ideas by tagging us at #vancouvermom ! for more school tips make sure you check here.
Kera is a full-time mom with three kids. She lives in the suburbs of Vancouver and recently started Kids Cuddles Coffee, a ‘mommy-news’ blog. She loves going on adventures with her kids all over the Lower Mainland. She has a passion for writing and the news. Before becoming a mom she worked at CBC radio and at a local newspaper. Follow her on Instagram @kidscuddlescoffee