A balanced diet for better learning
Children’s nutrition plays an important role in their learning and development. When children eat a well-balanced diet, they can concentrate, feel good and learn better in class. Packing a lunchbox may be a new challenge for you this first day of school, but don’t worry! That’s perfectly normal! To support you, here are some tips and information that can help guide your child’s lunchbox preparation:
The involvement of the child
Dinner preparation is not a task that should be left entirely to the parents. In fact, including your child in the preparation of his meals has several benefits in terms of developing independence and well-being. This inclusion also allows the child to work on certain math concepts, such as counting and measuring. To include your child in lunchbox preparation, you can prepare ingredients such as fruits and vegetables during the weekend, then prepare all the week’s dinners on the same day, or you can do it as the week progresses, either the night before or the morning of, whichever works for you. When prepping, remember to allow your child to work on their independence by guiding him or her through the process. This includes letting your child transfer his or her dips into a small container, count the food he or she adds to a container, transfer food from one container to another, make their own sandwich or wrap, handle various utensils including large spoons for liquids or knives (with safety instructions of course)!
Lunch and snacks
It’s important that the lunchbox contains a variety of foods to support your child throughout the day. You can choose to include a main dish for lunch or put in several snacks that can also fill the stomach at mealtime! In some schools, you will also have the option of having hot lunches. If applicable, be sure to note which days lunch will be provided so that your child does not go without lunch. This also applies to school days, when your child may be attending a daycare for the day. Be sure to include enough snacks for your child’s day. A good tip is to include 3 to 4 snacks, perhaps more if your child attends before or after school care.
Keep the school, classroom and daycare food allergy guidelines in mind, if applicable. In general, foods that contain or may contain peanuts or tree nuts are not allowed in these settings. Be sure to read food packages for these statements and, if possible, avoid foods containing nuts or peanuts before school. Make sure to indicate that foods such as “Wow-Butter” are not peanut butter! Other food restrictions may apply depending on the allergies of the individuals your children will encounter during the day.
A reusable metal or plastic water bottle, clearly labeled with your child’s name, is a great way to ensure your child is hydrated all day.
Don’t forget to identify your child’s lunch box on the outside and include an ice-pack to preserve their food!