Let the frenzy begin! It’s that time of year again, where the smell of stationery on sale is in the air. It’s also that time of year where the headache of deciding what to pack for lunch is on a lot of students’ and parents’ minds.
Here is a checklist of some things to include in brown-bag lunches (or meals to-go):
· Are there 3-4 out of the 4 food groups at this meal?
o The four foods groups are:
§ Grain Products/Starches
§ Milk and Alternatives
· Is the distribution of the food groups as follows?
o ½ of meal from vegetables (solid or leafy, not juice form)
o ¼ of meal from grain products/starches (whole grains more often than not)
o ¼ of meal from meats or alternatives
· Is there a low-calorie, nutritious beverage?
o The BEST options are:
§ Skim or 1% milk
o These are NOT great options:
§ Flavoured milk
· Added sugar in these contribute to extra calories consumed
§ 100% pure fruit juice (maximum 125mL per day)
· There is little to no fibre in these, so it’s better to eat the fruit instead.
o For children, diet beverages with artificial sweeteners are not the best choice as they are still growing, and would benefit from nutritious drinks.
o Sports drinks are also not the best choice because of the excess sugar content. These drinks are more appropriate for athletes or the very physically active.
· If there is a dessert, is it a fruit or yogurt?
o Desserts or “snack” food treats should be kept to a minimum for the sake of weight management and for healthy teeth.
o Limit “snack” food treats to 0-2 times per week.
For more ideas or information on meal planning or recipe ideas, visit:
Sally Ho is a Registered Dietitian at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.