1. Tips for packing healthy meals
    • Prep the night before. Mornings can be busy so take a few minutes in the evening to prep the whole family’s lunches for the next day. Click here for a flyer that shows you exactly how to make a healthy and balanced meal for a packed lunch.
    • Invest in a lunch box that your kid loves! They are more likely to help pack a lunch into a box or bag that they like to carry around.
  1. Importance of breakfast
    • Growing bodies and developing brains needs regular and healthy meals. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school. Aim to balance your breakfast out with a combo of fruits, veggies, proteins, grains and dairy. Here are some ways to round out your breakfast plate:
      • Breakfast cereal is often high in sugar and low in nutritional value try choosing an option with no more than 10 grams of “added sugar” and adding both a bowl of berries and a protein element when serving.
      • Breakfast inspiration: Muffins with zucchini and carrots with a spread of nut butter and glass of milk
        • Grain? Check!
        • Veggie? Check!
        • Protein? Check!
      • Breakfast doesn’t have to be “breakfast food.” Does your little one love the dinner you made last night? Reheat it and serve it before the bus comes!
  1. Eating as a family
    • Benefits include increased sense of togetherness and belonging for all family members, opportunities for communication and collaboration and wellbeing and more positive attitudes towards eating and body image.
  1. Try swapping out processed snacks for these healthier ones:
    • Trail mix or nuts instead of chips
    • Cheese sticks instead of Cheetos
    • Fruit instead of fruit snacks
    • Hummus and veggies instead of Nutella and cookies
  1. Involving kiddos in cooking
    • Like everything in life, children learn by observation and experimentation. Why not bring your children into the kitchen as your soux chef? Exposure to veggies, whole grains, and protein from an early age can build healthy habits for their future and reduce the number of times your child pushes away a plate of “weird” looking broccoli! Kids love to chop vegetables. Island Health’s Registered Dietician, Amber Phillips recommends picking up this kid-friendly knife set to let them help you cook dinner faster!
  1. Focus on how food for kids can be the same as food for adults
    • Often times “kids food” or “kids menus” are comprised of chicken nuggets, burgers, corn dogs, etc. that are high in sodium and fat and low in protein and nutrients. The truth is, kids can eat the same food as adults and it is better for their health. Next time you are eating out, try letting your children order from the regular menu and save the leftovers for their lunch the next day if they liked it. Two meals in one!

 

Need more information about encouraging you and your family to eat healthy this school year? Talk to your primary care provider at Island Health about a referral to Amber Phillips, Registered Dietician for a nutrition consultation.

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Published on October 11, 2022