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revised Wednesday September 19 2012

Feeding Your Growing KidsCool Lunch Ideas for the Balanced School Day

Packing meals for the balanced school day can be an easy and fun task. Meals can be balanced in a variety of ways.

Examples - How to Organize Meals for Nutrition Breaks

Each child has their own unique eating habits, likes, dislikes and appetite. Talk with your child to see what approach they would prefer when planning their meals for school. If your child does not eat breakfast before school, this can be a time to add breakfast into their daily routine.

Try to include foods from at least 3 of 4 food groups from Canada's Food Guide for each break.

  Example One Example Two Example Three
Break One Snacks ½ of lunch + snack Breakfast
Break Two Lunch ½ of lunch + snack Lunch

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Easy Tips to Pack School Meals Your Child Will Eat

Label and Separate

  • Label each bag: Break One, Break Two OR
  • Put dividers in the lunch bag so the child eats everything above the cardboard in the first break and then lifts the card and eats the rest at the second break.

Planning and Preparing Lunch

  • Send leftovers, like cold pizza, stew, macaroni and cheese or soup, for one lunch break in a thermos. Use other break for snacks
  • When making weekend meals, make extra and freeze leftovers in individual portion sizes
  • Bake muffins, banana bread or cookies on the weekend to use during the week.

Keeping Foods Hot and Cold

  • To keep foods hot use an insulated bottle or thermos. First, fill the bottle with boiling water and let it stand for a few minutes. Then empty the bottle and fill it with steaming hot food.
  • To keep food cold, use an insulated lunch bag and pack a frozen drink that will thaw by lunch, or use a freezer pack
  • Great food items to freeze are bottled water, drink boxes, reusable beverage containers or yogurt.

Healthy Drinks for a Healthier Lunch

  • Add 2 beverages. Choose from the following beverages most of the time: 100% unsweetened fruit juices, white or chocolate milk, fortified soy beverage or water.
  • On pizza and sub days, make sure your child has either milk or juice to drink along with his/her sub or pizza. Send healthy snacks for the other break.

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Cool and Nutritious Menu Ideas

Below are cool and nutritious menu ideas for your child’s breaks. Mix and match menus or substitute with food items your child prefers. Also you can add more food or reduce portions depending on how much they eat. Use Canada’s Food Guide for examples of serving sizes. Enjoy!

Break One
Break Two
Oatmeal Raisin Muffin Grain Products: 1 Sliced turkey on whole wheat bread or bagel Grain Products: 2 Meat & Alternatives: 1
Banana Vegetable & Fruit:1 100% fruit juice
Baby carrots
Vegetable & Fruit: 2
Milk Milk & Alternatives: 1 Milk pudding cup Milk & Alternatives: 1


Break One
Break Two
Container with whole grain cereal Grain Product: 1 One whole wheat tortilla or pita with salsa & cheese Grain Products: 2 Milk & Alternatives: 1
Milk Milk & Alternatives: 1 Water  
Banana Vegetable & Fruit: 1 Cucumber slices Vegetable & Fruit: 1
Handful of nuts/ seeds* Meat & Alternatives: ½   Chickpeas Meat & Alternatives: ½- 1

* Always check with your children’s school before sending any nuts or nut products to school. There may be restrictions on their use.

Break One
Break Two
Cheese Milk & Alternatives: 1 Chicken fingers & plum sauce Meat & Alternatives: 1
Whole wheat crackers Grain Products: 1 Breadsticks Low fat fruit cereal bar Grain Products: 2
Grapes 100% fruit juice Vegetables & Fruit: 2 Salad with dressing Vegetables & Fruit: 1
      Fortified soy beverage Milk & Alternatives: 1


Break One
Break Two
1-2 Cold waffles Applesauce Grain Products: 1-2 Vegetables & Fruit: 1 Homemade soup (with lean meat, vegetables) Applesauce Meat & Alternatives: 1 Vegetable & Fruit: 2
Vanilla Yogurt Milk & Alternatives: 1 Whole wheat crackers Grain Products: 1
Water   Chocolate Milk Milk & Alternatives: 1


Break One
Break Two
One rolled roti or chapatti filled with vegetables and hummus; cut in half Grain products: 1 Vegetable & Fruit: ½ Meat & Alternatives: ½ Other half of roti or chapatti Fig Bars Strawberries Grain Products: 2 Meat & Alternatives: ½ Vegetable & Fruit: 1 ½
100% fruit juice Vegetables & Fruit: 1 Yogurt drink Milk & Alternatives: 1
Yogurt Milk & Alternatives: 1    

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Revised: Wednesday September 19 2012


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