kawarthaCHOW – Pack a Healthy Lunch Box for Back to School
Elaine McCarthy provides back to school lunch box tips that will keep them healthy and focussed!
I noticed that the tree out my kitchen window was changing colour this morning. I felt that feeling of summer ending and fall beginning. I wrapped my hands around my pottery coffee mug, snuggled up into my robe and for a fleeting moment felt like a Folgers commercial. Then it hit. Panic and dread. The activity I dread the most as a mother and professional food handler is the daily school lunch.
I have been packing the lunch now for 7 years and in that time I have managed to somewhat master the task. The lunch box comes back empty and most of the time enjoyed. Here are a few tips that I will freely share!
1. Give them what they want. Ask your child what they want. If they give you unrealistic answers, talk to them about nutrition and then plan the menu together.
2. Share the responsibility. Have them help pack the containers. Make it their job to unpack at the end of the day
3. Provide healthy options. It is our job as parents to ensure that they receive the best nutrition we can provide. Use the Canada food Guide and provide a selection of the four food groups be creative
4. Use the Thermos! My kids love the leftovers – spaghetti, soup, beans and chili – they love them and will always eat it. It is important to remember to heat up the thermos first with boiling water for minimum of 10 minutes.
Your child’s day time food is a major source of their daily nutrition. The foods you pack will give them the energy that they need to play and learn at school. Without enough proper food energy they may feel tired and find it difficult to focus. If healthy foods are not available when they are hungry then like us they will make unhealthy choices. So when you are making your child’s healthy lunch do yourself a favour and pack one for yourself – your body and mind will thank you.
Here is a protein packed snack that kids and adults will love and it will keep them going and focused all afternoon. High in fibre too!
Lentil Chocolate Chip and Oat cookies
½ cup pureed lentils
2 tbsp canola oil
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup quick rolled oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor blend lentils with egg until smooth add canola oil and sugar blend until well combined. Remove from processor and add to a medium sized mixing bowl. Sift flour and baking soda over wet ingredients. Add oats, chocolate chips, drop onto prepared cookie sheet.
Note: Rinse the lentils to reduce sodium. 1 can is a double recipe.
Elaine McCarthy is the Co-ordinator of the PC Cooking School at the Great Canadian Superstore at Lansdowne Place in Peterborough.
She is a food entrepreneur, a former partner of BE Catering, and the author of our kawarthaCHOW column.
Be sure to check our column about the PC Cooking School and facility rental.