Back to school rhymes with meals to be prepared for the children every morning. It is essential to be organized in the preparations, while favoring foods that will contribute to their mental and physical development. Here are some tips and tricks to make these preparations a breeze for parents.
After breakfast, lunch remains the most important meal of the day for a child. What should a child’s classic lunch box consist of? That’s the question answered by nutrition educator Yoshinee Dhunnoo. “It is essential that your child does not miss his lunch. This meal he eats at school every day boosts his energy and contributes to his mental and physical development,” she says. Thus, a lunch box should, according to her, consist of carbohydrates found in particular in pasta, bread, wraps; protein foods found in dried grains, dairy products, meats and fish; cereal products, fish rich in Omega 3 such as nuts and which help brain development and, finally, vitamins present in fruits and vegetables. “As children are growing, they need to replenish their energy for their daily activities,” says Yoshinee Dhunnoo. A well-composed lunch box will help him concentrate better in the activities in which he engages.
It’s good to always have food at home to make your job easier and help you out: legumes, tuna, eggs, pasta and fruit, for example. “Fruits and vegetables remain essential elements. From the age of 2 years, you must already instil good eating habits in your child. For those who have trouble eating vegetables, try hiding them in their sandwiches, in a gratin or a colorful pasta salad,” recommends Yoshinee Dhunnoo. She advises for your child’s lunch pack to favor meals that are easy to eat and that will not be degraded by the heat. The nutritionist cites, for example, meals based on raw eggs, meat or chicken that are not well cooked. She also advises avoiding fried foods. “Opt for fresh products, avoid foods that are too sweet, too fatty or too salty, sauces such as mayonnaise, ketchup and processed foods such as nuggets, sausages or even burgers. »
A lunch box to share is also interesting because it allows children to share with their friends while socializing. As an easy-to-prepare meal idea, Yoshinee Dhunnoo recommends a chicken or fish sandwich with vegetables, yogurt, fruit and water. “You can also give them wraps, pancakes, smoothies, pasta or rice salads. Above all, the dishes must not be monotonous. The cooking method is important because children like to eat different textures. As a drink, water is, for the nutritionist, the best option rather than juices, syrups or other carbonated drinks.
A few tips to save time:
- Wash your fruits and vegetables and cut them in advance for three days;
- Turn leftovers from the night before into another dish;
- Plan the meal of the week;
- Always have food on hand to help you out;
- Prepare self-assembly meals such as wraps.
Corinne Leste, mother of two girls aged 9 and 6: “I manage to prepare their lunch box in 10 minutes”
It’s a race against time every morning for Corinne Leste. This mother of two daughters wakes up at 6 a.m. to prepare breakfast and box lunch for 9-year-old Zoé and 6-year-old Zia. “Over time, I finally found my rhythm and I manage to prepare their lunch box in 10 minutes, I never prepare anything the day before, because I like it to be freshly prepared for them every morning. Breakfast is also an essential meal to keep them fit until lunchtime”.
A classic, easy-to-prepare lunch box for her daughters consists, for example, of a tuna sandwich with mayonnaise, cheese, yoghurt and fruit and water. “I avoid anything that is sweets or else I alternate every three days mainly dry biscuits rather than sweets that contain coloring or chocolate,” says the mother.
Richita Achameesing: “We try to give them a balanced meal”
Richita, 36, and Manish Achameesing, 43, are parents to three daughters: 11-year-old Sonakshi, 10-year-old Avantika and 2-year-old Shakti. Richita is an entrepreneur and her husband is a physical education teacher. For this family, the lunch box menu has been established since the day before. “We try as much as possible to give them a balanced meal, but sometimes, for lack of time, we bet on an easy dish: a sandwich, a panini, but which is well supplied with its lettuce, sauce, ham and cucumber. . We sometimes ask them what they want to eat and mostly opt for something easy and convenient to eat during playtime,” says Richita.
As a drink, Richita and Manish give them water and sometimes juice prepared by Manish, most often tamarind/mango juice to replenish vitamins. They also receive help from their grandmother who prepares the fruit bowl for the children. “For the little one, it’s different. As she is at the crèche, I am preparing a complete meal with rice, dried grains and vegetables, yogurt and biscuits”.
Back to school: how to properly organize the children’s lunch box