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Many school lunch boxes are loaded with unhealthy fat, sugar, and salt, and are missing fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. It's time for a lunchbox makeover! 

Many Windsor-Essex County schools are moving towards what's known as a balanced school day.

What is a balanced school day?

A balanced school day:

  • Offers longer teaching periods separated by two nutrition breaks of equal length.
  • Uses teaching and break times more efficiently than the usual school day.
  • Offers many academic benefits to longer teaching blocks.
  • Provides more time for children to eat and play.

How to feed your child on the balanced school day

Children need two small meals, one for each nutrition break.

Check out four weeks of balanced school day menu ideas.

Think two small lunches instead of one

  • Label re-usable containers #1 and #2 so young children will know what to eat at each nutrition break.
  • Cut sandwiches in two and use one half for each nutrition break.
  • Add cut-up vegetables for the first break and a piece of fruit for the second break.
  • Pack an ice pack to keep foods cold, or put a frozen drink that will thaw by the second break.
  • Include a healthy drink for each break. Water, white or chocolate milk, soy beverage, or 100% fruit juice are good choices.
  • For hot food, preheat a thermos with hot water; pour out the water, then immediately fill with reheated food.  Tell your child to eat the hot food at the first break.

Here are some ideas for packing nutritious and safe school lunches and snacks:

How will I know if my child is getting enough food?

Ask them!

  • If your child tells you he's still hungry after eating his mini-meals, pack more whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Ask your child to bring leftovers home instead of throwing them out at school. This will help you know what's being eaten.

 

Resources

School Facts: The Balanced School Day

School Facts: Healthy Breakfast

School Facts: Packing for Success