It’s that time of year again, back to 6 am wake ups, rushing to the bus, extracurricular activities, sports, and the dreaded homework. With all the hectic schedules, meals and snacks might be the last thing on your mind. However, proper nutrition can help your children succeed in and out of the classroom!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
You’ve heard it a million times, yet most people still don’t eat breakfast. Lack of time is one of the major reasons. Think ahead and have quick breakfasts on hand so that you and your kids can all start the day right. Try “overnight oats” by combining rolled oats, milk or milk substitute, Greek yogurt and chia seeds. Let it sit overnight in a sealed container, then add your favorite toppings in the morning for a great quick meal that will keep you full until lunch!
Speaking of lunch, the cool kids all buy their lunch so your kid probably wants to do the same. However, most kids don’t choose nutritious foods at school when purchasing lunch in the cafeteria. Temptations of snacks from vending machines and high-fat, high-sodium hot meals can entice a child more than a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread can.
Try to pack your kids lunch box with healthy snacks that they enjoy and educate them on making healthy choices while at school. Here are some great go-to lunch box stuffers:
- If your child likes to have hot lunch, use a thermos and send them to school with leftovers! Hearty soup, chili, spaghetti or rice and beans go great in a thermos.
- Whole-wheat tortilla filled with vegetables, salsa and low-fat cheese.
- Make a sandwich on whole wheat bread with their favorite luncheon meat, grilled chicken or tuna. Let them pick the toppings to get them involved.
- Precut fruit and veggies are easier for children to eat. Pack a low-fat dressing or peanut butter they can dip it in.
- Air-popped popcorn makes for a great snack.
- Low-fat string cheese is easy and quick to eat if your child just wants to go out to recess.
Time to play ball
After a long day of sitting still its time for after-school sports. Make sure your child is hydrated and well energized. Pack them extra water bottles or sports drinks when they have sports, especially while it’s still warm outside.
Also pack them some pre-practice snacks, such as:
- Fruit and peanut butter
- Vegetables and hummus (or their favorite dip)
- Whole grain English muffin or rice cakes topped with peanut butter
- Granola bars
- Snack-sized baggies of nuts, like almonds, walnuts or pistachios
After all the rushing around it’s great to come home to a family dinner and talk about everyone’s day. Let’s make this school year the best and healthiest one yet!
Your Turn to Take Action: Try different ways to help your family become healthier during this hectic time! Use these tips above or try your own and let us know how it went by commenting below.