Getting the right items into your kid's lunchbox can be stressful enough, without having to worry that you may end up with a fine for your choices.

That's what happened to Kristen Bartkiw of Rossburn, Man., who sent two of her three children to daycare with leftover homemade roast beef and potatoes, carrots, an orange and some milk in December 2012, according to nutrition blog Weighty Matters, which is run by obesity medicine doctor Yoni Freedhoff.

Instead of just an empty lunch bag when her kids got home, Bartkiw also received a $10 fine from the school for missing the "grain" component of what is deemed a healthy lunch by the Manitoba Government's Early Learning and Child Care regulations:

ritz fine

As the note says, each lunch must contain one milk, one meat, one grain and two fruits/vegetables, falling basically in line with the recommended food servings by the Canada Food Guide. Although potatoes are high in carbohydrates, they are not grains according to the Canada Food Guide, which lists bread, bagels, flat breads, cooked rice, bulgur and quinoa, cereal, cooked pasta or couscous in that category.

The reaction from people online has pointed to the high sodium and caloric value of Ritz crackers, the food used to supplement the lack of grains in Bartkiw's children's lunches. As noted by the Winnipeg Sun, about five Ritz crackers have 80 calories, 4.5 g of fat and 150 milligrams of sodium. Children are meant to take in a total of 1,200 milligrams of sodium per day, according to Statistics Canada.

But there is a slight silver lining from this outcry. According to Weighty Matters, the lack of adherence to the school's rules has resulted in a hot lunch program that Bartkiw describes as "great."

So what are the Canadian food sugestions for kids' healthy nutrition? Take a look at the photos below:

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  • Fruits And Vegetables

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 2-3 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 4

  • Fruits And Vegetables

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 4-8 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 5

  • Fruits And Vegetables

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 9-13 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 6

  • Grain Products

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 2-3 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 3

  • Grain Products

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 4-8 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 4

  • Grain Products

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 9-13 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 6

  • Milk And Alternatives

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 2-3 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 2

  • Milk And Alternatives

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 4-8 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 2

  • Milk And Alternatives

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 9-13 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 3-4

  • Meat And Alternatives

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 2-3 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 1

  • Meat And Alternatives

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 4-8 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 1

  • Meat And Alternatives

    <strong>AGE:</strong> 9-13 <strong>SERVING:</strong> 1-2

  • NEXT: 14 Yummy Lunch Box Ideas Your Kids Will Love

  • Ants on a Log

    <strong>Ants on a log:</strong> This one might make you feel nostalgic as you make it. Turns out this classic kindergarten snack isn't just fun, it's also healthy: celery is a source of potassium, peanut butter has protein, and raisins have fibre.

  • Carrot Sticks and Hummus

    <strong>Carrot sticks and hummus:</strong> Make this crunchy snack — a great way to get some protein and vitamin A into their bellie — easy to transport and eat by putting the hummus at the bottom of a small jar and placing the carrot sticks in so they stand up. A great idea for a workday snack for you, too!

  • Smoothies

    These are the perfect way to sneak in healthy ingredients like yogurt, greens, or chia seeds — <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/search/apachesolr_search/smoothies" target="_hplink">Martha Stewart's site has some great recipes</a>, but doing an online search for your favourite ingredient plus "smoothie" is sure to bring up tons of suggestion. Companies like <a href="http://thesilico.com/proddetail.php?prod=silisqueeze" target="_hplink">Sili Squeeze</a> and <a href="http://www.yummipouch.com/" target="_hplink">Yummi Pouch</a> sell portable smoothie containers that are great for all ages, from toddlers and up. Just squeeze and enjoy!

  • Fruit

    It's hard to beat simple, whole fruit as a snack — it's healthy, it's easy to transport, it requires zero prep, and it's inexpensive.

  • Bento Box

    Okay, maybe your creations won't be quite as stunning as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/back-to-school-bento-box-lunches_n_1730487.html" target="_hplink">these Japanese ones</a>, but a bento box is still a great snack idea. You can make ingredients like rice balls en masse and use them throughout the week, and layer in other options like chopped meat (a way to repurpose leftovers!) and raw veggies.

  • Pita Wheels

    There are a million things you can do with this basic recipe: get a healthy pita (look for whole grains and fibre), spread it with your ingredients of choice (goat cheese and jelly, almond butter and chard, hummus and thinly sliced meat, anything you can come up with — just make sure you have a sticky layer), roll it up, and then chop it into fun wheels.

  • Roasted Chickpeas

    Here's a great option if your kids love chips — you can incorporate their favourite flavours, like salt and vinegar or chili, with a healthy ingredient like chickpeas, a source of fibre and protein. <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/10/exactly-how-i-roast-my-chickpeas/" target="_hplink">This basic recipe</a> can be adjusted with your favourite herbs and spices.

  • Greek Yogurt

    Greek yogurt is all over the grocery aisles now, and it's a good thing — it's full of healthy bacteria that keep your gut humming along, and it's a great source of calcium. To avoid excess added sugars, look for plain yogurt, and add in your own mixers like berries or chopped pineapple.

  • Homemade Trail Mix

    Trail mix can be a great snack, but packed mixes are often full of fat and added salt and sugar. Easy solution: make your own! Just pick the ingredients you'd like to have, mix through, and package into smaller containers to make it easy to grab and go.

  • Babybel

    These cheese discs are easy to transport, fun to unwrap, and a great hit of calcium, filling fat and protein. They come in several different flavors so you can give your kids their favorite cheese.

  • Mini Pizzas

    Kids love pizza, but it can be greasy and covered in unhealthy toppings. An easy solution is to make your own — you can go lighter on the cheese, and heavier on the healthy stuff like greens and lean meats. Mini pitas or slider buns are a great way to make these mini, which also makes them more fun.

  • Baked Pitas and Dip

    You can give the kids something crunchy without putting chips in the lunch bag. Crisp up some pitas in the oven—brush them with a bit of olive oil, maybe sprinkle with a bit of cumin for a kick. And pair it with a healthy dip or salsa — even homemade!

  • Parmesan Popcorn

    Popcorn is actually a whole grain, and it's a good way to get some fibre in your kids' bellies. And if you air pop it, it's low in calories, which means you can beef it up with some fresh parmesan and your kids' favourite herbs or spices.

  • Edamame

    In Japan, edamame is a bar food — sprinkle with salt, pop them open, and enjoy. Much healthier than pretzels! They can be a fun snack for your kids too, one that provides them with some protein to help them get through the afternoon.

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