Simple Lunch Solutions
Ask children why they didn’t eat their lunches and more than likely they’ll come up with one of about four pet peeves. Here are some solutions that parents can use to make sure lunch makes the grade.
Pet peeve # 1: “I hate it when my sandwich is soggy!”
Pack sandwich ingredients like bread, condiments, meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes separately. Let kids have some fun building their own sandwich at school. That way the bread won’t be mushy and the lettuce won’t wilt before lunch time. Teach kids to always wash their hands before eating meals and snacks and send a hand sanitizer for them to use.
If you want to make the sandwich at home, try freezing the bread ahead of time. It should thaw out and be just right to eat by lunch.
Use just a little mayonnaise to bind sandwich fillings like tuna, salmon or egg salad. Use other herbs and seasonings to add a little more flavour.
Pet peeve # 2: “My fruit always gets squashed.”
Enlist your child’s help in choosing fruits for making a fresh fruit salad you can pack in little lunch box containers.
Make little fruit kebobs by threading bite sized pieces of fresh fruit onto thin unsalted pretzel sticks or dull toothpicks. Try using pieces of soft fruits like kiwi, melons, pineapple and berries. Pack in a plastic container to avoid squashing.
Try sending dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, apples or papaya bits or real fruit leathers to school instead of fresh fruit. Teach children to eat dried fruit with their meal or brush their teeth afterwards for dental health.
Pet peeve # 3: “I can’t stand it when my drink is warm”
Use an insulated lunch bag with a frozen ice pack to keep foods cold.
Pack a frozen juice box and yogurt together by wrapping them with aluminium foil to keep them both cool for lunch.
Use an insulated drink container with some ice cubes in it to keep cold drinks cold.
Pet peeve # 4: “I’m tired of the same old thing for lunch!”
Get your kids involved in choosing the foods they would like to eat for lunch. Set the ground rules by asking them to choose a few of their favourite foods from each of the four food groups in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
Take your child to the grocery store with you and have some fun picking out some new nutritious foods from each food group. For example, why not try a whole grain wrap for a change instead of regular sandwich bread.
Mix it up with new vegetables, fruit, breads and fillings. Cut sandwiches into a new shape with a large cookie cutter for a change. Give new lunch items a test run at home before sending them to school.
Use the Dietitians of Canada Cool Lunch Guide to help you and your children plan great lunches together.
This article was written for/ by EatRight Ontario