Make sure your child is going to school with healthy food that they will enjoy. File photo

Island Health offers back to school nutrition tips

Hydration is also important - send them to school with a water bottle

It’s time to start thinking outside the brown bag!

As children and teens head back to class they will need more than just books and pens to have a successful year; they will also need healthy, nutritious and interesting snacks and lunches.

Parents and guardians should be sending children to school with a water bottle for hydration along with healthy snacks and a well-balanced lunch to feed their kids’ active brains and bodies.

“Colour is the most visible indicator that your child’s lunch will successfully support learning,” said Areli Hermanson, Island Health dietitian. “Green and orange vegetables, blue and red fruit, we can tell by just by looking at them that they are packed with vitamins and nutrients.”

Hermanson said snacks are also an important addition to the “packed” lunch.

“Don’t underestimate the value of a great snack,” she added. “Snacks can keep younger children from being cranky between meals. For teens and picky eaters of all ages, snacks may be the only guarantee your kids are getting any nutrients while they’re away from home.”

Power lunches:

• Pack protein – meat & alternatives (i.e. chicken, eggs and lentils)

• Choose single-serving lower-fat milk, plain yogurt and cheese (not processed)

• Substitute sandwiches with whole grain crackers, tortilla, naan or mini pitas

• Warm-up leftovers that your kids love and make sure they stay warm in an insulated thermos

• Send home-made soup with a whole grain breadstick or a bun

Super snacks:

• Fresh fruit

• Crunchy vegetables (send along salad dressing if it makes the veggies more appealing)

• Granola bars (preferably homemade but store-bought can be healthy too)

• Nuts in classrooms where there are no allergies. (Spreads like Wow Butter are excellent substitutes for peanut butter.)

Visit the Healthy Schools page on the Island Health website for more including best start breakfast.

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