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Smart School Lunches

Feature, Healthy Eating

A smiling woman sitting down to eat a healthy green salad.
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With September RIGHT around the corner, I’ve been getting a ton of questions, and noticing a lot of parents feeling a bit stressed about packing school lunches. Parents often times struggle with foods coming back uneaten, feeling pressure to produce ‘Pinterest-worthy’ lunches, and generally, just feeling overwhelmed with providing balanced nutritious lunches.

I was LIVE on Breakfast Television Calgary to give my TOP TIPS for packing Smart School Lunches, and tackling those top stressors!

You can watch the replay here:

Andrea Hardy, Calgary's top 10 dietitians talks packing healthy school lunches on Breakfast Television Calgary!

Tip 1: Have the RIGHT equipment

Have a variety of tupperware, plastic bags, and thermoses, ice-packs, and insulated lunch bags to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Often times, if foods are mushy, or at the wrong temperature, they can be unappealing!

I find packing foods in individual containers, and keeping foods at the right temperature can help to make sure kids actually eat the lunches you provide.

Tip 2: Have a ‘Snack Assembly Line’

By having a variety of ‘lunch approved’ snacks that are grab and go in both the pantry and the fridge, it’s going to save YOU time, and give your kids what they really want: some choice.
Top Grab & Go items in my house:

  • pre-packaged cheeses
  • Kind Bar, which are low in sugar, and are a good source of protein & fibre – not to mention – made with wholesome ingredients you can recognize
  • yogurts
  • fruit
  • veggie bags
  • portioned hummus from Sabra. My family loves the roasted red pepper flavour because it adds that bit of sweetness from the peppers, and is so creamy! You can pick it up at most major grocery retailers.

These are fantastic go-to snacks and lunch items for back-to-school for kids (and for back-to-work for adults, too!)

Tip 3: Picnic Style Lunches

If you find lunches coming back uneaten, I find this tip works GREAT to ensure your kid eats a little something. By portioning food into bite sized pieces, it helps to reduce lunch-time overwhelm. I LOVE offering pita, vegetables, and Sabra hummus – because kids LOVE to dip in to hummus. Parents often struggle with offering easy proteins at lunch, especially with peanuts not being allowed in most schools. Hummus is that super simple and nutritious option that offers protein in a fun way.

I also love pinwheel roll-ups – because they’re bite size, and are presented in a fun way that show off the colours of food. Kids love them! I simply use a tortilla or roll out a piece of bread with a rolling pin (so it’s flat), spread hummus, deli turkey or cheese, and a bit of vegetables (I like spinach or peppers). All you have to do is roll it up, and cut into slices!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received food products & financial compensation from Kind Snacks and Sabra Hummus. While the information conveyed may support clients’ objectives, the opinions expressed are my own and based on current scientific evidence. I do not engage in business with companies whose products or services do not match my personal and professional beliefs.

Andrea Hardy
About the Author

Andrea Hardy

Andrea Hardy is known in the media as Canada's Gut Health Dietitian. With her expertise, she has spoken internationally on all things digestive health, from SIBO, to the gut microbiome, to IBS. As owner of Ignite Nutrition, she has trained her team in the 4 Pillar Approach™️ to digestive health management - our comprehensive, evidence-based approach to managing digestive issues.

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