10 Sep Back to School! Zeina’s Top 5 Lunch Tips
When a lot of parents first hear the words “back to school,” they get a little too excited – even doing a little dance when no one is watching. 😉 They are relieved to return to some sort of a familiar routine. Then, a few seconds later… the panic starts. “What am I going to make for lunches?!”
It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are my Top 5 Lunch Tips to help you to manage another school year of menus.
- Know your kids’ likes and dislikes. Ask them what they prefer ahead of time! What are their favourites three or four different veggies, fruit, cheese and crackers and so forth? Make a list of these for your next grocery shop. You will always be able to put something together quickly if you have the right food on hand. So be fridge and pantry ready!
- Think healthy, energizing and hydrating. Make sure you include different vegetables and fruit in every lunch. Salads are a fun way to achieve this. Think pasta or potato salad with various veggies, and a fresh fruit salad. Pack a lunch with at least four different colours of vegetables and fruit for a healthy meal. Staying away from processed food is a good way to keep your kids energized. Natural food takes less time to digest, so it won’t make your kids sluggish during the second half of their day. Remind them to keep their filled water bottles handy, so they stay hydrated. Water helps them to stay focused in class. You want to avoid the sugar surge and then crash that comes from soda and sweetened fruit juices. Better to give them real fruit.
- Turn supper into lunch? Homemade is always the best choice. So if you’re cooking for dinner, why not always prepare more so that you have leftovers for lunches the next day or the one after? Another time-saving trick is to cook two or three meals at the same time. For instance, if you’re using ground beef, prepare it a couple of different ways. The same goes for chicken. If you’re cooking pasta, make extra to use later in a pasta salad.
- Pay attention to texture and smell. A soggy and/or smelly sandwich will not go over well. It may also turn your child off that particular food for a very long time.If you are thinking of giving your little ones (or not so little) a tuna or egg salad, or tomato lettuce mayo sandwich, I would think again 😉 Crackers, toasted bread with cheese or hummus. Everybody likes a crunch.
- Keep things fairly small and simple. Remember that you’re preparing each lunch bag for one person, and not a family picnic. Most kids regard lunch as a snack they often wolf down in a few minutes so they have more free time with their friends. Don’t worry: most kids are back home around 3 p.m. Given how kids burn fuel throughout the day, they will probably be hungry at that point. This is the best time to show off your best veggie/dip platter or yogurt, fruit and other nutritious homemade goodies ready to welcome them home. If you son or daughter is in after school sport or daycare program, Pack those snack to go!