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Sep 25, 2011

As fall approaches, and many of us return to school and work patterns after summer vacations, it’s a good time to establish healthy habits once again.  Part of that is preparing nourishing school and work lunches.  There has been recent news coverage of schools throughout the country encouraging healthy, litterless lunches, and U.S. President Obama declaring September National Childhood Obesity month.  How can we promote healthy eating in a fun way without making children (and ourselves) obsessive about weight?


First, it’s important to prioritize what we put on our plates.  We often feel there is no time to eat well, but one of the simplest ways to improve your health and that of your family is to have nourishing meals – don’t underestimate it.  Countless studies have shown the connection between a nutritious diet and a reduced risk of illness and chronic disease, and though the choices can be confusing, there are some basic rules which can provide a place to start from.


  •  Be prepared – have foods readily available at home that are part of a wholesome meal
  • Let your children participate in shopping so that they are excited about food and engaged in eating well
  • Have your child pack their own lunch in the morning, or help – this way they participate in the process, and are more likely to eat what they have made themselves … plus, it can free up time for you
  • Give kids some guidelines to work around – for an example: pick one vegetable and one fruit
  • If you can, pack or plan your lunch as well, and model the behaviour and choices you are encouraging.   It can be an activity you do together to bond and inspire each other
  • Remember that leftovers can make a great lunch, packed in a thermos if they need to be kept warm
  • Meal planning works for some families – brainstorm on the weekend what you would like to eat during the week and then shop accordingly.   It can save you money along with wasted produce that goes rotten before you use it, as well as getting the whole family to participate in planning and preparing meals
  • Try to make it fun, not just a chore.  We want our children (and ourselves) to take pleasure in food and meal preparation, and to see it as something to enjoy as well as help fuel our bodies and keep us well
  • For meal ideas, ask friends + family, and check out cookbooks (you might be surprised what you can find in a library)


Dr. Clare Craig, ND, CD(DONA)
Naturopathic Doctor, Doula
Island Optimal Health & Performance

Island Optimal Health & Performance
#103-1808 Bowen Road
Nanaimo, BC   V9S 5W4




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