From Grade 1 until the end of high school, a student may eat more than 2,400 lunches at school.
And creating that many tasty, nutritious meals can be a challenge for parents, say the Dietitians of Canada.
But with some planning and a few ideas, you can put together a lunch that not only tastes great, but also packs the nutrition that children need in their busy days.
Here are two suggestions:
Lunch Box Chili
This can be placed in an insulated container or if you have access to a microwave oven, warm it up at school or work.
250 ml (1 cup) cooked rice
175 ml (3/4 cup) canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
125 ml (1/2 cup) frozen corn kernels
1 medium tomato, chopped
50 ml (1/4 cup) diced green bell pepper
30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped onion
1 ml (1/4 tsp) chili powder
In a microwave-safe bowl, stir ingredients until combined. Microwave on high, loosely covered, for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot. Stir before serving.
Makes 1 serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 447 calories, 18 g protein, 2 g fat, 94 g carbohydrates, 15 g dietary fibre.
Source: "Dietitians of Canada Cook Great Food" (Robert Rose).
Tuna Avocado Salad
This salad can be served on its own or stuffed into a whole-wheat pita, flour tortilla or spread between two slices of whole-grain bread.
1 can (170 g/6 1 / 2oz) water-packed tuna, drained
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into bite-size pieces
1 small tomato, diced
1 / 2 small red onion, finely chopped
50 ml (1/4 cup) frozen corn kernels, thawed
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
5 ml (1 tsp) lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
In a small bowl, combine tuna, avocado, tomato, red onion, corn, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, if using, and hot pepper sauce, if using.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional information per serving (values have been rounded to nearest whole number): 201 calories, 10 g protein, 14 g fat, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 121 mg sodium.
Source: "Dietitians of Canada Simply Great Food" (Robert Rose).