School is right around the corner for kids, and that means parents need to come up with lunch ideas.
Helen Flengeris, a registered dietitian and senior health educator with the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, said that having balance and keeping the kids involved in meal planning is a way to have lunchtime success.
“The more they’re involved, the more likely they are to eat it,” she said. “The one thing you can do is you can make a list with your child of foods that they would like to have for lunch, you as a parent can set up the guidelines.”
According to Flengeris, it’s important kids create rules around their meals because the children are just learning.
Flengeris said when it comes to creating a balanced meal, it’s important to not forget the proteins, such as meats or cheese.
Non-perishable items are also good because kids may choose to not eat that item on that day.
She also recommended sticking to the tried and true lunchtime foods.
“Sometimes it takes children up to 15 times to like a food before they will actually eat a good amount of it.”
Snacks are also important when packing a lunch, with Flengeris saying it’s important young children eat every two to three hours.
“Snacks, especially with young children, make up a good part of their nutrition for the day.”
She said the best kind of snacks are the basic foods that could be provided at meal times as well, such as yogurts and cheese.
As for sugary snacks, it’s important to keep them to a limit.
“Parents are responsible for what, where and when and kids are responsible for whether and how much they eat.”
It’s not just foods parents have to be cautious about when it comes to packing a lunch for their child.
“Trying to avoid things like the fruit juices and any sugar-sweetened beverages.”
She recommended taking advantage of the school’s milk program if it is offered, or to send a water bottle along with the kids.