Have your child pack his or chicken sandwich for school lunch lunch in the morning! This way they pack what they want within the realm of healthy options and you have more time for other things in the morning. So far she has done it every morning and done a great job!
She chooses the food she would like for that day, does any cutting or chopping necessary, and packs it all into her lunch basket. The inspiration for this came from my sister-in-law. Her girls, 8 years old and 10 years old, have been packing their own lunches for the last few years. On a visit to their house I noticed this lovely chart they had posted on their pantry door. The chart had categories with food options written in each one. So I decided to make my own chart and add little pictures next to each food to help younger children who may not be reading yet.
The chart is no artistic masterpiece, I just used clip art, though in the future I may update it and use my own photographs. The basics of the chart give 5 categories: Fruit, Vegetable, Whole Grain, Protein, and Treat. The child can choose at least one food from each category to create a healthy, balanced lunch. I didn’t mention anything about “gluten-free” on the chart so it can be used by all. This morning Lily made a nori roll with sticky brown rice and carrots, put some heated Lentil Noodle Soup into her Stainless Steel Thermos, sliced some fruit, and placed a handful of raw almonds and dried mango into a lunch bag.
If you would like your child to start packing his or her own lunch then print off the chart and show it to your child and ask what he thinks about it. You may want to try some practice runs with it on weekend days. Don’t expect it to go super smooth the first week. We had to remind Lily to pack her lunch instead of sit at the counter and color!
One day I decided not to say a thing to see what would happen. Also, don’t underestimate what a child as young as 3 years old can do. They can pretty much pack an entire lunch, though they may need some training if they are not accustomed to working in the kitchen. I remember when Lily was barely that age, Grace had just been born, and I was completely consumed with caring for a newborn. She would go into the kitchen when she was hungry and make herself almond butter and jam sandwiches, and sliced bananas!
I’ve printed it out for my 3 year old, who only wants oatmeal for breakfast lunch and dinner. Thank you for sharing this chart! It is similar to what I had envisioned in my mind for a while, but never got it to paper. I just got your cookbook and I am SO excited! I look forward to trying them all. You can do something similar with the Canada Food Guide. Click on “Create my Food Guide” and start entering data and picking foods to enter on your chart.
You can create a different one for each member of the family, showing their favourite foods. You can save them as pdf’s. Remember the final product will only show the pictures, so even if the title is “whole wheat waffle”, you know it’s really a picture of a gf waffle! Oh, I lied, it does use the label too. But you can use a pdf editor and remove them! After seeing what my students eat every day I am so proud of your daughter’s healthy choices.
I think I need a snack chart too! Ali, this is great, thanks for posting it! I am printing it off as I type. Tree – Well, oatmeal isn’t all that bad for a staple but I am sure a little more variety couldn’t hurt, glad you like the chart. Debbie – Glad we can help, and nice to hear you have our book! P – That sounds like a great site – thanks for sharing! I will go check it out now.
CDM – Thanks for your comment, you must be a school teacher? Alison – ooh, a snack chart is a great idea! Thanks, I am sure you and the kids will have fun with it! Since my kids are all grown, I will share the chart with my grandchildren.