With the start of the school year, there have been a number of articles, blog entries and reports relating to nutrition for school-aged children. This week, I thought I’d share my own tips for keeping my kids well fed and healthy throughout the school year.
Let’s start with breakfast. Remember that old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? I’m not sure if it’s the most important, but I do agree that getting your kids’ metabolism revving with a nutritious meal is a good way to begin the day. Since their lunch schedules vary from day to day, if they go without a good breakfast they’re sure to lose concentration by mid morning. Instead of the standard bowl of cereal or toaster pastry, try a few more interesting (and healthier!) options like Perfectly Peachy Waffles, Heart Warming Oatmeal with Fruit & Nuts or a Vegetable Frittata.
Though lunches can be purchased at school, and as a result of initiatives like Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools there are healthy options available, I still prefer to pack my kids’ lunches on a regular basis. I have teens and just because I tell them to purchase the side of fruit or salad, doesn’t always mean they will. Packing lunch enables me to better ensure they are getting a serving of fruit or vegetables. Make sure your sandwiches include things like lettuce, tomatoes or sprouts. Include fresh fruit as a side or you can pack dried fruit and nuts for a crunchy snack. Apple Tuna Sandwiches and Veggie Stuffed Pitas are two tasty lunch recipes to try.
Don’t forget the after-school snack! If your kids are like mine, they start their homework shortly after getting home from school. A healthy snack will keep them focused and hold them over until dinner. Bookworm Apple Bark, Banana in a Blanket or Very Veggie Snack Pizza will all do the trick. A quick smoothie like After-School Strawberry Shake will also go over well with your kids.
So this year why not try something different? Include more fruits and vegetables to your children’s day to keep them energized, focused and healthy. And, if you have tips or ideas that work for you–please comment on this blog entry and share them with us!