With only a few days of school left before the holidays, the last thing you want to think about is preparing school lunches. But, because getting all the essential nutrients that a growing brain needs is important any time of year, it's always a good time to talk brain food. We all know that we should "aim for four" when it comes to selecting foods from the four groups in the Canada Food Guide. Yet, sometimes it isn't so easy to come up with lunchtime ideas that not only get our children excited but also provide them with a healthy and balanced meal.
Luckily, Grain Farmers of Ontario is here to help! As part of the Good in Every Grain campaign, they have teamed up with Healthy Grains Institute and Registered Dietitian and mom, Cara Rosenbloom to help parents across the province prepare balanced meals for their children. Using the "Food for Thought" tips below, I recently used our new Bento lunch box to send my daughter to school with a chicken sandwich using leftover chicken breast and mayo stuffed into a mini whole grain pita. I paired it with fresh broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes with a Ranch dip and a side of seedless grapes.
Food for Thought:
- Whole grain products are a great source of nutrients such as fibre, B-vitamins and minerals that are necessary for growth and development.
- A balanced meal should include: whole grains, vegetables & fruit and protein.
- Cara recommends the balanced plate approach: fill your plate, or lunch box with: half vegetables or fruit, a quarter protein and a quarter whole grains.
- Get kids excited about their lunch by giving it a cool name and using bright colours.
As part of the Good in Every Grain campaign, Cara has developed some simple, tasty and nutritional lunchtime meal ideas that are balanced and fun. Both recipes for Whole Grain Pizzadillas With Tofu Ranch Dipping Sauce and Grainiac Mediterranean Lunch Box are accessible below by simply clicking on the thumbnails.