Nutrition suffers during busy times

It’s back to school time and for many families, balancing packed schedules and activities can make creating healthy lunches and nutritious snacks a challenge.

It’s back to school time and for many families, balancing packed schedules and activities can make creating healthy lunches and nutritious snacks a challenge.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority is providing some ideas and tips to make it easier for parents to keep mealtimes healthier:

* Get colourful and create a food rainbow at every meal with selections from all four food groups of Canada’s Food Guide – vegetables and fruit, milk and alternatives, grain products and meat and alternatives.

* Try limiting the amount of processed food and stick with whole food at meals.

* Even in the winter months when there are fewer fresh options, frozen or canned vegetables and fruit are great alternatives to keep meals nutritious;

* Homemade lunches and snacks can save money as compared to the pre-packaged alternatives. Involve children in preparing lunches and to help with meal ideas.

* Instead of including a favorite junk food as a snack, incorporate a healthy alternative.

* Use containers in lunches with separate compartments so dips, veggies, fruit, cheese and crackers can stay separate and fresh for lunchtime;

* Consider purchasing a small thermos to keep warm or cold foods at the proper temperature or put a small ice pack in the lunch bag.

For information on Canada’s Food Guide, please visit: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php.