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By Dr. Simone Burke, N.D.

The summer has flown by and as many parents prepare for the school year, one of the most frustrating yet important aspects is school lunches.

A healthy lunch helps to keep your child focused and their immune system healthy.

However, it can be challenging to try and come up with healthy lunches that don’t take too much time to prepare yet are healthy and nutritious for your little or big one’s growing mind.

Here are just a few suggestions that I find have made a world of difference to my children who are 5 and 8 years old.

1. Choose a lunch container that has many compartments

When rushing to put together lunches, the last thing you want to be doing is to be trying to find the lids for the containers. There are many options for stainless steel lunch containers (instead of plastic) that have compartments allowing for variety. At the end of the day having one container to put in the dishwasher is much easier too. I use planet box but there are many options.

2. Choose water over juice

Juices have sugar and can affect mood and attention. Water is hydrating and helps to keep those sugar levels under control.

3. Add in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Baby carrots, celery sticks, mini cucumbers, bell peppers, apple slices, berries or orange slices are just a few suggestions that you can add. You can even add in apple butter or humus as a dip.

4. Get your protein

Sandwiches made with a protein such as chicken, turkey or ham or you can vary it by using a croissant filled with a meat with or without cheese. Other options include chicken or ham slices as finger foods with crackers.

5. Experiment with flavours

If your child enjoys corn or beans, use that to make a corn salad or a bean salad.

6. Make it a hot lunch

Another option is to get a thermos and add a soup or other hot dish.

7. Try to make your own

If you can, try making your own treats instead of pre packaged ones. Often you can use half the amount of sugar in the recipe and still have it tasting great.

8. Get your child involved

Getting your child involved in making the food makes it fun and then they are excited about eating it.