1. Choose fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are like hitting the jackpot when it comes to nutrition. They make your plate look more colourful and are packed with vitamins and fibre. It is a good idea to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. A serving of carrots may be just 10 sticks. A fruit serving could be one medium orange.
2. Know the facts about fat. Kids need some fat in their diet to stay healthy – it also helps keep you feeling full – but you don’t want to eat too much of it. Fat is found in butter, oils, cheese, nuts and meats. Some higher fat foods include french fries, hot dogs, burgers and chicken nuggets, so you may want to eat them less often and in smaller portions.
3. Let whole grains reign. Grains include breads, cereals, rice and pasta. Whole grains are better than refined grains. What’s the difference? Brown rice is a whole grain, but white rice is not. Likewise, wheat bread contains whole grains, whereas white bread does not.
4. Slurp sensibly. It’s not just about what you eat – drinks count too! Milk has been a favourite lunchtime drink for a long time. If you don’t like milk, choose water. Avoid juice drinks that can be high in sugar and sodas.
5. Balance your lunch. A balanced meal includes a mix of food groups: some grains, some fruits, some vegetables, some meat or protein foods, and some dairy food such as milk or cheese. If you don’t have a variety of food in your lunch box, it is probably not balanced. A double order of french fries, for example, would not make for a balanced lunch.
6. Steer clear of packaged snacks. Salty snacks, candy and soda shouldn’t be on your lunch menu.
7. Mix it up. Do you eat the same lunch every day? If that lunch is a burger, than it’s time to change your routine. Keep your taste buds from getting bored and try something new. Eating lots of different kinds of foods gives your body a variety of nutrients.
8. Use your manners. Cafeterias sometimes look like feeding time at the zoo. Follow simple rules: Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t talk and eat at the same time. Use your utensils if you have them. Use a napkin. Be polite. And don’t make fun of what someone else is eating.
School Nurses’ Office