Thursday, December 9, 2021
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Bringing Balance: School Lunches Time Again!

September will be soon be upon us and we’ll be back to packing the dreaded lunchbox. Here are some simple, creative tips for dealing with the following common frustrations that go along with a packing a school lunch:
1.     My child’s lunch comes home uneaten most days;
2.     My child’s main lunch staple is PB&J and I’m not allowed to send it; and
3.     I rotate through the same three lunches throughout the school year. I need ideas!
Your child’s lunch could be coming home uneaten for a number of reasons. First, young schoolchildren are given very little time to eat their lunch. If they are slow eaters or social butterflies (or worse, like my daughter, both!) they have very little chance of finishing their lunch. This is especially true in the first few weeks of September, when everything is new and exciting. Your child also may be suddenly faced with unfamiliar lunch foods, and struggling with container lids and packaging. 
When lunches are coming home uneaten our instinct is to jam the lunchbox full of choices in the hopes that one or two appeal. This can actually overwhelm your child. Instead, set them up for success: Pack small amounts of familiar foods and teach your child how to open the packaging. Praise their eating efforts, however small, and get them into the habit of eating the balance of their lunch as soon as school’s out.
My solution for the PB&J dilemma is to introduce your child, before they start school preferably, to some of the nut butter alternatives that are school-safe. My favourite is sunbutter, which is made of healthy, school-safe sunflower seeds. Get them liking this before the summer’s over and you will have an easy alternative: SB&J!
The best way to get out of the “sandwich rut” is to make a list of all the healthy & portable lunch options in your arsenal. If you’re low on ideas, google “kids’ school lunches” and get some more! Post your list of healthy lunch and recess snacks in your kitchen and stock the ingredients.  When you’re stuck for a creative idea, check the list and get packin’!
Attendees at my School Lunch Solutions workshops receive my Build-A-Lunch Guide and Lunch and Recess Ideas PDFs, along with loads of nut-free healthy and tasty recipe ideas. The next public workshop is scheduled for September 12th at 7:30 p.m. at Oxford Learning in Bedford. Check here for details and to register:

Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better!  She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 7 &8.  For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.

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