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What are some tips for nutritious packed lunches?
Back to school is just around the corner and that means so is the lunch time planning. Here are a few of my top tips to help ease you back in. This is actually a really great opportunity to teach your kid about healthy food choices. First and foremost, you will want to make sure there's at least one serving from each food group. This means fruits and vegetables (bonus if you have both), also meat and alternatives, dairy and alternatives, and some starches. Variety is key so try to include at least five items in their lunch, as kids are inclined to eat more If they have more choice. You can also vary the preparation to keep things interesting. Cut fruits and vegetables in different shapes, like cubes or matchsticks, or even use a fun cookie cutter shape. Kids eat with their eyes so make sure to include a variety of different colours. Some lunch combinations can be: hard boiled eggs, with some toast, and nut free butter, along with pepper slices and a banana, or maybe a tuna wrap with some lettuce, baby carrots, grapes, and even yogurt. Whole- grain bagel with cream cheese and sliced chicken with fresh berries and milk could be a third alternative. Tip number two: bulk cooking. When you have some extra time on the weekends or evenings, make a big batch of whole-grain muffins, mini egg bites, or oatmeal cookies and freeze them in individual Ziplock bags for future use. When you are cooking an evening meal, try to make some extra and that can be used for a leftover lunch. Cooking in bulk not only saves time but it also adds an interesting variety to lunches. My tip number 3: plan the lunch menu and prepare in advance as much as possible. Cut up those fruits and vegetables on the weekend, clean fruit when you buy them, portion out your yogurt or snacks into individual containers, and fill up water bottles the night before. The more you are able to do it in advance, the more likely you will be able to pack a healthy lunch, and avoid those morning chaotic rushes. And finally my tip number four, enlist your child's help so that they can learn how to pack a healthy lunch and also become a bit more independent. Younger children can help by portioning things like yogurt or trail mix, and older kids can help by making their own sandwiches or wraps. Give them clear guidelines, use the recipe method with step by step instructions. Give them choices: would you like a tuna wrap or a chicken wrap? Banana or berries? Yogurt or milk? Laying out the food choices puts the quality in your hands but it gives your child the option to choose which they would prefer, and then they would be more likely to eat the lunch. Hopefully by incorporating some of these tips you can get a head start of the lunch packing, while also helping your child become a bit more aware of how to put together a healthy and balanced meal.
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The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.
This information included in this recording is correct as of July 23, 2020.