Post by Michelle of Avery and Augustine
Now that the whirlwind of getting ready for the start of another school year has come and gone, it’s a good time to establish a regular routine for your kids’ lunches with some basic back to school lunch planning.
I thought it would be great to get Avery involved in the planning, with hopes that it would get her excited about trying new foods and eventually get her ready to pack her own lunch (maybe in a couple of years—just planting seeds here!). Children really seem to take ownership and become more enthusiastic about what they’re eating when they’re involved in the planning and/or prep process.
What we did first was to have a discussion about what goes into a healthy meal and we decided on: one protein, one grain, one vegetable and one fruit per meal. Together, we drew a picture for each food and labeled it (also a great opportunity for writing and spelling practice!). We sorted the foods into cups for each category: proteins, grains, vegetables and fruits. Avery chose which foods she wanted in her lunch for each day of the week and stuck them onto the chart using washi tape.
Once Avery filled in all of the spaces on the chart, she was able to see that she was eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, just by looking at the rainbow of colors in those two columns. This fed into a conversation about the importance of eating a diverse mix of fruits and vegetables every week (not just the same ones every day), so that she would benefit from the different vitamins and minerals that each one provided. We also began to talk a little about the seasonality of fruits and vegetables, which ones were available each season and when they were at their peak. These are all all great conversations to start with children, which will hopefully sow seeds for healthy, mindful patterns of eating in the future as they become more independent and have to make their own choices about what they eat.
Hope everyone’s school year is off to a terrific start!
You can see Michelle’s work and read about her two young children and their first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.