Nutrition tips for back to school

Science says that well-nourished children learn better, behave better and feel better, so ensuring that snacks and lunches are nutritious is important.

  • Sep. 2, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Science says that well-nourished children learn better, behave better and feel better, so ensuring that snacks and lunches are nutritious is important.

A healthy breakfast:

• A good breakfast is the best way to start the day. The energy received from a nutritious morning meal is what jump starts our body and brain, and allows children to focus and learn easier in the classroom.

•  When planning breakfast for your children, try to include three of the four food groups from Canada’s Food Guide — Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives:

Here are some examples:

• An egg, slice of whole-grain toast, and sliced tomatoes.

• Whole grain toast with peanut butter and sliced banana.

• Yogurt, granola and fruit.

• Breakfast smoothie made with yogurt or alternative, and your favourite frozen fruit.

Healthy snacks:

• Snacking throughout the day at set times will help to keep children’s blood sugar more stable, and provide lasting energy for physical activity at break times and focused learning in the classroom.

• When planning snacks for your children, try to use whole foods as much as possible, limiting the amount of pre-packaged, processed foods in your child’s lunches.

• Pack healthy snacks, which include at least two of the four Canada’s Food Guide food groups.

Here are some examples:

• Yogurt with fresh fruit.

• Sliced apple with cheese.

• Banana bread with cream cheese.

• Carrots with hummus or bean dip.

• Hardboiled egg with sliced cucumber.

• Small homemade bran muffin with orange wedges.

Healthy Lunches:

• Lunch is a great time for children to connect with their peers over food and fuel up for the afternoon.

Here are some examples:

• Sandwiches are classic. Start with whole grain bread and choose your fillings:

• Tuna salad — add celery for extra crunch.

• Egg salad — add radish and green onions for extra crunch.

• Chicken salad — add apples, celery and curry spice for a spin on the original.

• Veggie — add hummus, avocado and/or cheese to make these sandwiches more filling.

Salads are a great way to shake things up:

• Pasta salad — add cubes of cheese and/or leftover meat or alternatives with plenty of veggies. Marinate in dressing overnight for extra flavour.

• Taco salad — add lean ground beef, lettuce, tomato, grated cheese and salsa.

• Spinach salad — add a protein of some sort such as leftover salmon, nuts and/or seeds plus veggies.

• Mexican wraps — with grilled chicken, black bean spread, spiced rice and avocado in a whole wheat tortilla.

• Leftovers that can be eaten cold, think: quiche, homemade pizza, lasagna.

• Picnic lunch — with hard boiled eggs, sliced cheese, bean salad, veggies and dip.

• Homemade chilli or hearty soups in a thermos, alongside a whole wheat bun.

• Sending sliced veggies with your child’s lunch is a great idea, whether they eat them as a snack or alongside their meal.

• Fruit makes a great lunch-time dessert!

For more information, visit the HealthyFamiliesBC website at

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