Power Packed Lunches 101
Let’s make back to school easier. Parents, no more racking your brain trying to figure out how to pack your child’s lunch. We’ve got you covered with these 5 easy ways to create a healthy lunchbox for your child.
1. Include protein
- Protein plays a huge role in your child’s physical and cognitive health. It is important to ensure that they get the adequate amount of protein, but also the right kind of protein. Lean meat proteins such as chicken and turkey or eggs, fish and hummus are great proteins to add in. When possible try for organic or grass fed meats as they do not contain nitrates. If you are not familiar with nitrates, they are a food additive used to stop the growth of bacteria and to enrich the flavour and colour. Rowe Farms (http://rowefarms.ca/index.php) is a great local company that specializes in quality grass fed meats without the use of nitrates, antibiotics, and hormones.
- Tired of the same old sandwich? Try a delicious wrap instead with grass fed chicken. You can load up a wrap with vegetables such as iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and maybe even some cheese. Top that off with some tomato, avocado and honey mustard dressing and you’ve got an amazingly simple and healthy wrap for your children’s lunchbox. The avocado is full of good fats, the veggies boost your little ones immune system with vitamin C and the right kind of protein will make them strong.
2. The whole grain swap
- Swap out the white bread for whole grain bread in your child’s lunchbox. White bread is very refined and therefore stripped of most of its nutrients, low in fibre content, and full of unwanted sugary garbage. One great brand in particular is Vege Hut; they specialize in high quality, home-style daily made breads that can be found all over Toronto, just check out the ‘where to find us’ section on their website (http://vegehut.com/index.html).
- Slowly introduce your child to whole wheat and then whole grain if they prefer white bread at the moment. It will give your little tike sustained energy throughout the day so they can focus better in school.
3. Add in vegetables
- Side veggies are a must! It’s important to get your children exposed at an early age to all sort of vegetables as they are full of essential vitamins and minerals. Include vegetables like broccoli, carrots, peppers and cucumbers as they can be easily sliced up and packed away into your child’s lunch in a cinch. If your child tends to be a little pickier with their vegetables add in a ranch dressing, it’ll make it far more enticing.
4. Add in fruits
- Grapes are a great option to add to a child’s lunchbox as they are known as nature’s candy. Make sure to buy organic grapes as conventional grapes are on dirty dozen list. Bananas are another great fruit to add as they can satisfy a child’s sweet tooth. They are also very high in potassium which will be beneficial for bone growth and full of healthy fibre to keep their bowel movements regular.
5. Add a healthy drink
- Make sure to include a water bottle full of H2O in their lunchbox. Water is an essential part of life and without enough water your child will feel sluggish in class.
- If you’ve got some extra time in the morning, make them a simple smoothie to take to school. After that you can get creative and add other fruits, maybe even some veggies! Try spinach, trust me they won’t even know it’s in there! You can add some flax seeds or powder for its high omega 3 content, which will be very beneficial for their health and focus. It’s simple and gives them a boost in nutrients.
- If you’re pressed for time, pick up some delicious apple juice at Village Juicery. Stay away from store bought varieties as they are filled with preservatives and added sugars. If there are any parents out there with children suffering from asthma then apple juice is the way to go. Flavonoids found in apple juice can help prevent asthma attacks.
These meal ideas can be easily prepped the night before. Just slice up the fruits and veggies to make the wrap. And remember to place the tomatoes between the veggies so your wrap won’t be soggy in the morning. When you wake up add the dressing and there you go!
Marina Dimitrova is a Holistic Nutritionist at our 99 Roncesvalles location. She began her journey in nutritional health during a time when she was dealing with digestive issues. When she decided to remove meat and dairy from her diet, her health issues began to clear up. After graduating from The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, her focus is teaching nutritional knowledge to children at an early age so they can grow to live a long and healthy life.