Avril Supermarché Santé
Expert advice: the basics of a balanced lunch box

Expert advice: the basics of a balanced lunch box

Back to school time also means lunch box time! To make sure that your children’s meals are healthy and nourishing, here is an overview of the four food groups, and as a bonus, a few tips organization tips!

The 4 food groups

Fruits and vegetables

- Benefits: They contain carbohydrates (which quickly provide energy to the body and the brain), vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

- Number of serving(s): One to two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit daily.

- Ideal foods: Fruits (fresh, dried, canned in juice or light syrup, or as unsweetened puree), raw vegetables (served as a side dish) or cooked (integrated into a dish), etc.

Grains

- Benefits: They contain carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

- Number of serving(s): One to two servings.

- Ideal foods: Whole wheat or multigrain bread and pasta, whole grain crackers, brown rice, couscous, barley, millet, bulgur, quinoa, homemade muffins, etc.

Milk and alternatives

- Benefits: They contain carbohydrates and proteins that provide calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth.

- Number of serving(s): One serving.

- Ideal foods: Milk, enriched soy beverage, yogurt, cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, ricotta or cottage), milk desserts (rice pudding, tapioca), etc.

Meats and alternatives

- Benefits: They contain proteins that allow longer satiety and ensure the growth of bones, muscles and other tissues.

- Number of serving(s): One serving.

- Ideal foods: Meat (poultry or fish), eggs, cooked legumes (beans, chickpeas or lentils), tofu, hummus, etc.

 

5 basic lunchbox principles3

  1. It must contain a drink low in sodium or sugar.
  2. It must contain at least one food from each food group mentioned above.
  3. It must contain as little processed foods as possible because these usually contains fat, salt and sugar.
  4. Its contents must be varied, in terms of color, flavour and texture.
  5. It must be clean at all times to avoid bacteria proliferation and bad smells.

 

5 tips to make your life easier during the school year

  1. Plan your weekly meals in advance and make your groceries accordingly.
  2. Wash and prep your fruits and vegetables ahead of time.
  3. Cook your muffins and cookies ahead of time.
  4. Cook your meals in quantities large enough to have leftovers.
  5. Encourage your child to help you preoaring meals and the lunchbox!

 

SOURCES:

1. http://www.education.gouv.qc.ca/fileadmin/site_web/documents/dpse/adaptation_serv_compl/virage-sante_fiche4_boites-a-lunch.pdf

2. https://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Actualites/Dossiers/Fiche.aspx?doc=boites-a-lunch-pour-tous-strategies-idees-recettes_do

3. http://www.extenso.org/article/la-boite-a-lunch-nutritive-une-excellente-facon-de-bonifier-le-contenu-de-son-assiette/

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