(NC) - You can prevent your kids from trading away the nutritious lunch you packed by making them both pleased and proud to eat it themselves.
Dietitians tell us that having a child take ownership of his or her lunch is a definite recipe for success. So with your guidance on maintaining balance and nutrition - and your child's viewpoint on taste and variety - the results are bound to reach "cool lunch" status every time.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Set the parameters: Aim to include servings from each of the four major food groups from Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide. If you need clarification, you can now direct your questions to the EatRight Ontario call centre. Make a toll-free call and speak personally to a registered dietitian at 1-877-510-5102 between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EST. This program - a new partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Dietitians of Canada - offers credible nutrition information free-of-charge to all residents in the province.
Let your child be the chef: Some children have never made their own lunch and may be thrilled to have the chance.
Get the creative juices flowing: Who says you can't add green olives to egg salad or add granola to a peanut butter sandwich? If it's a combination your child will actually eat, and it's within reason nutritionally, give it a try. Here are some creative favourites:
Try a cheese bagel topped with sliced ham, mustard and pickles, instead of an ordinary ham and cheese sandwich.
Stuff pita bread with freshly cut vegetables and sliced turkey with a side of salad dressing.
Make a 'mock' pizza with an English muffin, tomato sauce, pepperoni, shredded cheese and favorite cut vegetables.
Make your own fun and easy lunch by packing bite-sized cubes of meat and cheese with crackers in a reusable container.
Add finishing touches such as a thermos filled with milk, 100 per cent fruit juice, or fruit with yogurt.