If the end of the summer wasn't a tough enough pill to swallow, parents can also look forward to the daily struggle of packing lunches as the school year ramps up.

Packing lunches and keeping kids healthy at school can be a daunting task. But don't worry, there is hope!

Cookbook author Nettie Cronish spoke with CBC's North by Northwest to offer parents tips that will keep kids healthy and make it easier for parents to put those important meals together.

1. Keep them in the loop

One of the easiest ways to find out exactly what your child is and isn't going to eat at school is to hear it straight from the horse's mouth.

"I think it's really important from a young age to get your kids involved with the food choices," Cronish said.

Try bringing your child along on a grocery shopping trip to get a sense of what they want to eat for lunch. It will help accommodate the taste of picky eaters and will help with planning out their lunches ahead of time.

2. Picky eater? Try tiffin tins

No one is perfect and the odds are that many of us have strange eating habits and personal preferences — which all started when we were kids.

Nettie Cronish

Nettie Cronish is a cookbook author and culinary instructor. (Nettie Cronish)

"My son doesn't want tomatoes touching his cucumbers," said Cronish, who says there's ways around these types of picky preferences.

Keeping ingredients separate from each other might be necessary to ensure your child gets the most out of their lunch. Rather than struggling with a bunch of different containers and bags, try tiffin tins — stainless steel lunch boxes that have several compartments.

3. Catch-all burritos

Let's face it — leftovers are a lunchbox staple. But what if you had a dinner with lots of different ingredients?

"Burritos are a real catch all for all the ingredients you have in your fridge that you want to use," said Cronish.

Try mixing everything onto a tortilla shell. Cronish says you can add chilli powder to give the meal that rounded flavour.

"I would often slice the burritos into five or six sections so it can be finger food," she said. "And then you send a little chutney or salsa along so they can dip it."

With files from CBC's North by Northwest


To listen to the full segment, click on the audio labelled: Cookbook author Nettie Cronish offers tips for packing lunches