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Lunch Box Help – Covid Style

In addition to being a Nutritionist, I am also a Registered Early Childhood Educator. I’ve spent many a nutrition break in kindergarten classrooms as a supply staff. I’ve sanitized the table before eating time begins, I’ve encouraged proper hand washing techniques and I’ve seen children drag their lunch bag on the floor. Yes, I’ve stopped them, but not before they’ve collected a little something special along the way.

No matter your child’s age, taking the time to talk about what eating time will look like this fall will help set them up for success. Even if you are choosing to do distance learning with your children this year, I still believe that there is value in packing a lunch. This will save time mid-day and also help your child develop responsibility and independence as they help pack their lunch.

  • Have your child use a little tea towel to use as a place mat while eating. Food inevitably falls on the table and while I do believe that schools will do their very best to keep surfaces clean, the reality is they can use all the extra help we can give them.
  • While I am a big advocate of bite-sized finger foods, especially for younger learners while at school, this year is different. I still recommend bite sized foods, but encourage your child to use a fork for eating and keep those fingers out of their mouths.
  • For younger students, start practicing with lunch bags and food containers now. Let them use their new lunch bag and dishes at home so that they can get really good at opening their own things. Imagine a class of 25 and staff having to open containers for even half of the class. Needing to wash hands or use sanitizer between each child’s belongings will be very time consuming and harsh on hands.
  • In our home, our insulated food jars are a hot commodity and often in use. Try making a batch of my kid approved ‘Taco Chili’ to fill your jars. Top tip: Fill the insulated jar with boiling water as you are heating up the contents. Empty the water just before filling with food. The hot water will help the jar retain heat better this way. Remind your child to eat any hot food during their first break to help maintain safe food handling temperatures. Don’t forget to pack a spoon!

Just like at the beginning of the pandemic, we banded together and supported one another the best way we knew how. May we come alongside the people who are welcoming our children back to school, be it custodial, administrative, teaching, support staff and transportation services and let them know we have their back. Together is the only way to do it right!

  

Taco Chili

2 lbs of ground beef, chicken or turkey

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 jar salsa – 500 ml

1 large can of diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato paste

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp sea salt

 

Sauté onion in frying pan. Next cook ground meat throughly in frying pan. Add in the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Now put meat mixture into crock pot. Add in black beans, salsa, chili powder, cumin and sea salt. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.  Top chili with diced avocado and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.

 

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