School-aged child meal ideas

School-aged child meal ideas

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Starting school is a big occasion for you and your child. During this time, your child’s diet will depend on their level of physical activity and influences from friends, family and the media.

Breakfast

Children should always eat breakfast! They need a well-balanced meal at the start of the day. This will give them energy and help them to concentrate in school. Consider including some options from the table below. If possible, prepare at least some of the breakfast the night before.

Lunch

Going to school full time means that packing lunches will become part of your child’s new routine. Use the following tips when preparing school lunches.

  • Choose from the options in Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Provide small portions of food with plenty of variety.
  • Pack lunches that are easy to carry and eat (try to avoid messy and mushy foods).
  • Use a freezer pack for perishables (food that may go bad).
  • Use leftovers that convert well to lunch-friendly meals. Put them in airtight containers.
  • Over time, involve your child in preparing lunches.
  • Check how much lunch your child brings home. Find out if your child swaps food with friends.
  • Work on new lunch ideas over time.

Snacks

Children have big appetites after school, so be sure to serve healthy snacks. Snack options should include two of the four food groups to sustain your child’s energy levels between meals.

Dinner

Dinner is a time for the family to connect, so engage all the family in conversation.


Check out the meal and snack options in this table. 

Sample meal plan

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Breakfast Whole wheat toast
Nut butter or cheese
Banana
Milk
Oatmeal
Smoothie
Milk
Cold whole grain cereal with milk
Apple
Bagel with light cream cheese
Berries
Milk
Scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and jam
Milk
Lunch Chicken salad sandwich
Carrots
Melon slices (other fruit)
Water
Egg salad sandwich
Raw vegetables stick (carrots and celery) with yogurt dip
Fresh or canned peaches
Milk
Cheese sandwich
Raw vegetables (tomatoes and cucumber)
Dried fruit (raisins or apricots)
Water
Macaroni and cheese
Carrots and broccoli
Apple
Oatmeal cookie
Water
Tuna sandwich
Vegetables
Yogurt (plain or fruit)
Berries
Water
Dinner Broiled, baked or grilled fish
Potatoes and corn
Fruit
Oatmeal cookie
Milk
Turkey burger on whole wheat bun
Sweet potato fries
Frozen yogurt
Water
Vegetables or beef with pasta
Mixed dark green lettuce salad
Orange
Milk
BBQ Chicken
Corn
Green beans
Whole wheat bread
Water
Pork or beef kebobs
Couscous or rice
Apple
Milk
Snack ideas Apple with cheese, whole wheat crackers
Bran muffin with milk
Whole wheat toast with cream cheese and orange segments
Air popped popcorn (for children age five and older )
Banana and berry smoothie
Whole wheat crackers and cheese with kiwi halves
Graham crackers and apple sauce
Banana and yogurt
Whole wheat crackers with nut butter (peanut or almond) or cheese
Cottage cheese and fruit

Original author:
Stephanie Gladman, RD, MHSc.
Mahsa Esmaeili, RD, MHSc.
Reviewed by:
Elly Berger, BA, MD, FRCPC, FAAP, MHPE
9/27/2013

Sources

Dietitians of Canada. (2013). How can I make brown bag lunches quickly that everyone will like? Toronto: Dietitians of Canada.


Notes: