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Healthy Eating and Starting School

 
Learn how to promote healthy eating at school.

Every fall parents are faced with the lunch box challenge...meeting your child's nutritional needs despite lunches become boring over time.

Tips for Preparing Lunches

  1. Follow Canada’s Food Guide (external link) and include a food item from each food group:
    1. Grain Products (crackers, breads, pita)
    2. Vegetables and Fruits - think of a rainbow of choices (broccoli, carrots, blueberries, bananas)
    3. Meat and Alternatives - egg, legumes, lean meats and tofu
    4. Milk and Alternatives - smoothies, yogurt, cheese, Kefir
  2. Use fresh ingredients where possible.
  3. Choose nutritious drinks such as water, milk, or 100% fruit juice.
  4. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  5. Limit processed foods (deli meats, pop, candy,cheese strings, chips)
  6. Use an insulated lunch bag to keep hot and cold foods at a safe temperature.
  7. Get your children involved in preparing meals and snacks. This is a great way for them to learn about healthy eating and start to pack their own lunches for school.
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  • Refer to your school's guidelines for snacks and lunches. Leave foods out of lunches that may cause allergic reactions. You will receive communication from your child's school about foods to avoid.
  • Find containers that your child can open with little help and have him practise opening and closing them. Schools often have older students help out at lunch but it is best if your child can do this on their own.
  • Many schools are eco-friendly and promote litterless lunches. Families are encouraged to pack snacks in reusable containers to reduce waste. The benefit to this is that you will know what your child is eating or not eating!
  • There is not a lot of time to eat lunch at school. Pack small, healthy, easy to eat items that they can start now and finish later.
  • Find out what foods works best for your child. Soup or pasta may be too messy for your child in Kindergarten, but less messy once they reach grade 1. It will be trial and error for you in the beginning so be patient…they won’t starve!

Still concerned about your child's eating? The NutriSTEP Nutrition Screening Tool is a questionnaire where parents answer questions about:

  • Eating habits
  • Growth and development
  • Family mealtimes
  • Physical activity

Questionnaires are available for toddlers (18-35 months) and preschoolers (3-5 years).

Complete the NutriSTEP questionnaire (external link) online now. If you have any questions or concerns about your results you can contact HaltonParents or visit Eat Right Ontario (external link).

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