It’s that time of the year again! Summer is coming to an end with the first day of school fast approaching. Focus on balance during September from cooking wholesome dinners to packing nutritious school lunches. A balanced eating plan includes whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and colorful fruits and vegetables!
- Be mindful! Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and focus on eating from all food groups.
- Eat slowly. You will be more likely to notice cues that let you know you’ve had enough to eat.
- Send the kids to school with food to keep them fueled and focused. Hard-cooked eggs, baked chicken, garbanzo beans, peas, or nuts are great protein choices that keep the brain and body energized.
- Don’t forget the veggies! Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrots and green beans are easy to snack on and full of fiber. Dip them in hummus, low-fat ranch, tzatziki, or plain Greek yogurt!
- Color your meal. Fruits make for a yummy addition to any lunch! Cherries, apple slices, pears or orange wedges are a delicious way to add nutrients and color to a meal.
- The brain needs grains! Children’s brains need energy from whole grains (pasta, bread, rice) to be focused and do well in school. Start the day with a whole wheat English muffin, oatmeal, whole grain bread or whole grain cereal. Add low or non-fat dairy for a high protein, high energy, nutrition packed meal.
Send your child to school knowing they are eating well. Try out these easy recipes as school lunches or afterschool snacks!
Veggie Pockets: Cut a whole wheat pita in half and let kids add their favorite veggies. Sprinkle with low-fat cheese and a dab of dressing!
Simple Pizzas: Top a whole wheat English muffin with sauce, chopped vegetables and low-fat mozzarella, then toast lightly for a mini pizza!
Brain Boosting Trail Mix: Toss together dried fruit, mixed nuts, cereal and popcorn in a snack-size bag. This makes a filling, healthy snack you can bring anywhere!
Roll-Ups: Spread peanut or almond butter on a whole wheat tortilla, add sliced strawberries, roll it up for strawberry roll-ups! Or, layer a tortilla with deli turkey, low-fat cheese and lettuce for a turkey roll-up!
Let the kids help! When kids help create their lunch or snacks, they are more likely to eat it. Be creative and save money at the same time. Try making your own snacks and limit processed ones that could be high in added sugars, sodium or saturated fat. Start school off on the right foot this year and give the family food you feel good about.