Healthy School Lunches

Good morning, everyone! Dr. Glen here with your Monday Morning Motivation. As we gear up for another academic year, I thought it would be the perfect time to discuss an important topic – childhood nutrition at school.

As parents, we have a challenging task. We need to prepare lunches that are quick, can withstand the rough and tumble of a school bag, look appealing enough to keep our kids away from the cafeteria or their friends’ lunches, and above all, are nutritious.

Why is this so important? Well, for starters, a nutritious lunch sets the tone for our children’s day. It directly influences their learning, memory, attitude, and energy levels. Moreover, good nutrition is crucial in combating the growing issue of childhood overweight and obesity rates.

In Canada, these rates have risen from 15% in the 80s to a staggering 27-29% in recent years. This is concerning as overweight or obese children are likely to face health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke later in life.

So, what can we do? Here are my top five tips:

1. Ditch the Juice Boxes: While they might seem convenient, juice boxes often contain high amounts of processed sugar. They’re absorbed differently in the body compared to actual fruit. Instead, send your child off with a water bottle they can fill from the water fountain during the school day. Encourage your child to drink water – it’s the only liquid our bodies truly need.

2. Opt for Actual Fruit: A piece of real fruit is always a healthier choice than processed fruit chews or rolls. Apples and pears are great options as they are less likely to bruise in a lunchbox.

3. Replace Sandwiches with Wraps or Rice Cakes: Instead of using bread, try wrapping sandwich fillings in a tortilla or placing them between two rice cakes for a healthier option.

4. Swap Cheese with Other Protein Sources: Cheese can be inflammatory for some children. Hard-boiled eggs or nuts (if allowed at your child’s school) can be a great substitute.

5. Hold Back on Cafeteria Food Money: While it’s important to empower children to make good choices, the temptation in a cafeteria line can be too much. Instead, pack a lunch filled with nutritious options.

Remember, as parents, our number one job is to keep our children safe and healthy. By providing them with nutritious lunches, we are doing just that.

If you have any questions or need more tips, feel free to contact us. Have a great week!