As a Montessori school, we recognize that caring for the whole child includes attention to quality nourishment and education on healthy eating. Research on pediatric nutrition indicates that better food leads to better attention span and classroom behavior, enhanced learning, and improved health. We believe that the education of the whole child includes an understanding of how food fuels one’s body, and our curriculum includes teaching children to make healthy choices for themselves.
Lunch is an important meal for everyone. It provides energy and nutrients to keep the body and brain working efficiently through the afternoon. A packed lunch made at home can be a healthy and delicious choice.
A recent article by Lutho Pasiya on Independent Online makes the following suggestions:
If possible, consider packing a variety of foods with immune-supporting nutrients, such as vitamins C and D, zinc, and protein, and try to keep added sugars to a minimum.
Always include fruit and vegetables
Since fruits and vegetables have health-promoting properties, they contribute to dietary guidance. You can start by asking your child or children what fruits and vegetables they would enjoy eating for lunch, but you may have to rethink how to make healthy food more kid-friendly.
For example, a sliced-up pear or apple may be much more appealing than a whole one. Fruits or vegetables are a necessity. Even if it is just dried apricot, cucumber slices, salad, or carrot sticks, but make them fun.
A proper meal should include foods with immune-supporting nutrients. So, for some grains, you can make whole-wheat crackers, tortillas, boiled eggs, pita bread, or granola bars. For protein, you can give them plain yogurt (you can always jazz it up by mixing it with fruits or veggies), chicken breasts (sliced), or cheese (cubed).
And what about the drink? Try fruit-infused water. Infusing water with fresh fruits or herbs is nutritious and can help increase the intake of vitamins and minerals. Making it can be a fun exercise for children. You can also give them coconut water. Plain unsweetened coconut water is a good choice for children as it provides nutrients and electrolytes, including vitamin C.