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Jessica Mulroney

August 26, 2015 by Speakers' Spotlight

Back To School Ideas For Picky Eaters

Jessica Mulroney is the lifestyle expert to watch—literally. Now a recognized commentator on programs such as Breakfast Television and CityLine, Jessica weighs-in on topics ranging from fashion and home decor to family and parenting. Whether acting as a brand ambassador or co-hosting an event, Jessica’s positivity and poise are palpable. Jessica recently teamed up with the Metro grocery store chain to come up with some winning ideas for lunchboxes across the country once school is back in session:

Let the lunch battle begin!

No matter how cool the school lunch bag, there is no way to guarantee the lunch will be eaten. And it’s double trouble when you’ve got picky eaters you’re packing for. Picky eaters are an extra challenge for time-starved parents, says working mom Jessica Mulroney. “But if you view life with a picky eater like a war, you will be disheartened by all the battles you lose.

“If you view it as a school where you teach your child about fresh and healthy food every day, you will be amazed by all the things they learn over time,” says the fashion stylist/designer who has three children with TV host Ben Mulroney.

Lunch time troubles are tough to digest but there are ways to please picky palates. Mulroney and Cara Rosenbloom, registered dietician for Metro, worked together to come up with winning lunch ideas.

Make a lunchtime bento box for kids. Great combinations contain vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein, such as meat, dairy or legumes, says Rosenbloom. “For the fall try a combination of apples, cheddar cheese, carrots, and whole grain crackers.” According to Mulroney, “bento boxes are a great way to ensure that my boys’ lunches get eaten simply by making them look more fun. They also make it easy for my boys to pick and choose what items they want to eat and helps avoid foods from mixing – something my picky eaters do not like.”

Experts agree that breakfast is a must: “You’ll know that even if they don’t eat all of their lunch, they started the day with a nutritious breakfast,” says Rosenbloom. Mulroney loves to bring out the breakfast banana boat or a smoothie bowl, see recipes below, which Rosenbloom created.

Balance home-made with store-bought items. “If you have time you can make things like granola bars, trail mix, or hummus at home, or you can buy pre-made healthy versions,” says Rosenbloom. “Let the kids throw in a few things like chocolate chips or Smarties every now and then.”

Do your homework. See what came home with the kids and what didn’t, says Mulroney. “It isn’t always the item itself but rather things like how it’s cut or whether there are seeds or a peel.”

Give kids lots of say: “Involving your kids in shopping for food and preparing the meals gives you a much better chance that they will at least try what you’ve made,” says Mulroney. “And avoid taking them down the candy aisle at the grocery store.”

Cut down on sugar by swapping out juice with flavoured water. “It’s easy to have slices of lemon, cucumber, strawberries and mint in the fridge ready to add to water bottles. I’m excited to try all the fun combinations like mint-lime, lemon-cucumber, cinnamon-apple, strawberry-blueberry and watermelon-lemon-strawberry.”

Joanne Richard/Toronto Sun/August, 2015