A balanced lunch for kids going to school should be healthy, but it doesn't need to be difficult.
"I know a lot of kids and parents are in a hurry and they're pressed for time because they have a lot of things to do, so you want things to be tasty, quick and easy to prepare," said Karen Moniz, an educator in the department of family medicine at the University of Alberta.
A perfect, balanced school lunch should include proteins, carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables.
"Really stick to whole foods that you recognize," added Moniz. "If you can pronounce and understand what's in them, it's probably a safe bet."
Moniz recommends switching to foods that make you feel good, especially fruits and vegetables, which can be made easy and convenient by buying them in pre-sliced packages.
"They're loaded with minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and a lot of phytochemicals."
Processed items and sugary drinks should be avoided as much as possible.
"Juice is actually a treat," added Dr. Doug Klein, an associate professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Alberta. "What you're doing is you're getting all the sugar and all the calories from those apples, but not any of the goodness, not any of the fiber, not any of the other components which really are required to keep us healthy."
Instead of juice or pop, kids should be drinking water or healthy alternatives such as cucumber water, carbonated water, or milk.
Lunches can also be made fun by preparing them as a family.