With the combination of kids that are likely to wake up before the alarm clock goes off, and hectic mornings, we made the decision to put Olivia in charge of putting her own lunch together.
I know what you’re thinking – how can a seven year old create a healthy and nutritious lunch, one that’s not filled with seven package of goldfish crackers and a juice box? Well, the truth is, it started out that way. One morning, when I prompted her to put together her own lunch, that’s essentially what she packed.
Now, she’s packing lunches, making educated choices that are usually good and making those mornings easier. How did we start the process to teach our kid to make nutritious lunches? That’s easy.
Encourage them to be Nutrition Fact Finders
First, we learned about nutrition facts, with the Focus on the Facts resource. Here, we learned about appropriate serving sizes and calculating the daily value of the nutrition contents table to decide if it is was a healthy choice. We let her follow along as we did the math, encouraging her to hypothesize whether items would be a healthy choice. Then, we made categories of the different foods – choosing between: things you should eat frequently, things you should eat some of the time and things you should eat only once in a while.
The Nutrition Facts table contains all of the information you need to educate yourself to make healthy choices, and your child. We had Olivia read through the labels, searching for good things: like fiber and calcium, and the bad things like: saturated fats. This also helped her to decide which items she should put in the lunchbox, and which ones she should skip.
To start the conversation, you can learn more at Canada.ca/NutritionFacts. While you’re there, you can enter to win a $300 grocery gift card to help to fill the grocery cart with wholesome and healthy options for the family.
Tip: 5% daily value or less is a little and 15% daily value or more is a lot.
Give the kids Options
Have plenty of options available for them to choose between. There are at least eight different types of fruits and vegetables that she likes, and these become the go-to snacks when she’s building her lunch. The same goes with other types of snacks. We like to have an assortment of crackers, snack bars and sides available, all on an easy to access shelf, to make building a healthy lunch easier.
Model the Behavior
Invite your child to come make a lunch together. They can work on creating their lunch, and you can work on creating your own. Model behavior like determining the serving size for the foods being packed in the lunch and consider the daily value of the nutrients in the food being packed. Make healthy choices and model the ideal lunch and choices that you would like them to choose, for their own lunch.
Make it Easy
Make it easy for kids to grab things to put in their lunch. For us, that means washing and cutting fruits and vegetables and pre-portioning them into Ziploc bags. This means that she’s easily able to grab something on the go and put it into her lunch bag. Fruits and vegetables help to build the bulk of her lunch-time snacks, and when they’re easy and accessible, the kids (and the adults) eat more of them.
Start off making the lunches together, explaining about making healthy choices in regards to serving sizes and daily value – you might just surprise yourself with how much you learn. Slowly, after you’ve made lunches together with the kids, you can transition to the kids assembling their own lunches, using the skills that you’ve learned together.
Win $100 Grocery Gift Card
We’re happy to host a contest where one lucky winner is going to win a $100 gift card to make their grocery budget stretch a little bit further. To enter for your chance to win –
This post has been brought to you by the ‘Focus on the Facts’ campaign – as always, all opinions (and tips!) are our own!