Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to School- Helping Our Kids Make Smart Eating Choices a Lifelong Habit

It's that time of year again, when our young ones leave the nest and are out in the world on their own- for a awhile at least. I just dropped my daughter off at her first day of four year old preschool. She had her “All About Me” bag and lunch box in tow. The drop off went smoothly (she's too independent for her own good, that one), kiss and hug and she was off playing in the classroom without a backward glance. I walk away feeling proud and bit sad- my baby girl is growing up so fast! Four hours of making her own choices (for the most part at least) without parental influence, but with a whole bunch of peer influence. Yikes. I just hope I am giving her the tools to make good choices and feel confident in those choices. One area in particular that I want to influence, or shall I say, I still have some control over, is her eating habits- what goes in her lunchbox.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I met up with a friend and her two children at Brookside Gardens and had a very nice picnic lunch. My friend and I were talking about packing school lunches- the challenges to ensuring our children are eating healthy and in an environmentally friendly way. The wholesome part of lunch I felt pretty on top of (though it's always nice to get new ideas); however, the earth-friendly part I learned could use a little work. After a few suggestions and some thorough research, I learned just how NOT on top of things I was. I was using a lot of Ziploc type bags to hold food, disposable plastic forks and spoons, and prepackaged food such as single serving applesauce and yogurt cups, juice boxes and so on. All these things just get thrown away. Sure they're convenient, but horrible for the environment, so I was beginning to realize. I even started paying more attention to the labels on the prepackaged "healthy" food items I was giving my daughter- they're not healthy at all (full of sugar and/or sodium!). Ugh. What to do.