The other day my 12 year old son mentioned that he had traded part of his lunch with his buddy. I asked him WHY?- especially because I pack him a hot meal everyday in a thermos. Ok, almost everyday. But that day his friend had an egg salad sandwich. That totally floored me (you traded for egg salad?) I was relieved and but I also knew that boy’s family and they  always pack healthy lunches. I’m not too concerned about my son trading or on occasion buying lunch from the cafeteria. He’s a good eater and has an adventurous attitude towards food by any normal kid standards (e.g. blue strong cheeses, tripe, jelly fish, grilled calamari).

I received some interesting findings from a recent study that was commissioned by Hellmann’s that looked into the lunch habits of kids. Specifically, what parents think their kids are doing and eating vs. what is actually going on at school  - trading and throwing out!
In fact, according to the study, 72% of Canadian parents believe that their children do not throw away lunch items, almost a third (31%) of Canadian children polled admit they throw out some of their lunch items, and nearly half (46%) report that they regularly trade some of their lunch items with friends. 
What can parents do to ensure that what’s packed actually gets eaten? According to the national survey it’s about awareness and education. Children who learn about food are significantly less (67%) likely to throw out their lunch.
“We know that food education matters but we were surprised at how it relates to lunchtime eating behaviours,” said Stephanie Cox, Senior Brand Manager for Hellman’s at Unilver Canada. “Our survey demonstrated a few of the positive ways food education can change children’s attitudes towards food.”

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The survey also found that children who are receiving food education also impacts their interest in being involved in packing their lunches.
Hellmann’s Real Food Grant Program (founded in 2010)  is designed to fund community-led initiatives to engage kids and families about ways to incorporate healthy and fun ways to understand food. The Hellmann’s Real Food Movement is a mission to help get more real food on Canadian tables by inspiring families to smell, taste touch and learn about the pleasure that comes from eating real food. 
I was also sent a few recipe ideas that I’m going to try out on my kids this week. This Veggie Sandwich was created by Chuck Hughes specifically for kids in mind. But honestly, I’m salivating …about the sandwich, hon! Ahem, Chuck Hughes is a Canadian chef and television personality. He is the chef and co-owner of Garde Manger and Le Bremner located in Old Montreal. 
“It’s really amazing how easy it is to get kids excited about real food,” says Hughes. “We see the way kids connect with food through the programs we fund with Hellmann’s Real Food Grants and the result is really powerful. They want to eat it, they get excited about it – it changes their whole perspective.”
For easy school lunch ideas visit hellmanns.ca
Try something different! They may decide to just keep it for themselves and actually eat it all up! 

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CHUCK HUGHES’ VEGGIE SANDWICH
2 slices of whole grain bread toasted
1 slice of low-fat Swiss cheese or Havaarti
2 slices of tomato
2 leaves iceberg lettuce
4 slices of avocado
2 slices of roasted red pepper (optional)
Featured Mayonnaise Options:
GARLIC MAYO…
1 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
3 cloves of roasted garlic
1 tbsp of chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped dill (optional)
2 tbsp of grated cucumber (optional)
Salt & Pepper (optional)
ZESTY MAYO…
1 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise
Half a cup of caramelized onion
Half tsp smoked paprika
zest of half lemon
Salt & Pepper (optional)
What’s your kid’s favourite homemade lunch? 
  • Leslie

    My son will eat Tuna, Tuna and more Tuna!!! I can not keep enough in the house, and please serve the tuna with a pickle…..Loves it everyday!!
    My daughter, Salami, Salami, Salami!!! Everyday if I let her!! Otherwise she like crackers and hummus, cream cheese or red pepper dip!!! It is always a full service kitchen at my house when it comes to packing lunches!!
    One thing I do is pack their lunch. Yes they are old enough, and yes they are capable. But I know what they will eat, and I want to make sure it is there for them. 8 hours is a long time to be out of the house, you want to make sure the right snacks are there to sustain them.
    When I was young, I had to fend for myself, and I hated lunch time. Sometimes I had it and sometimes I didn’t….I want my kids to have it everyday!!!

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