Better Bets for Back to School Nutrition
Food choices the whole family can feel good about
As you gear up for a new school year, it’s important to put your kids’ nutrition on the school checklist. Treat this season of “academic beginnings” as a chance for the whole family to take a fresh approach to better-for-you eating.
Creating healthier meals can be as easy as simply trading-up or swapping one food ingredient for a more nutritious choice.
Even if breakfast finds you crunched for time, prime the kids with morning nutrients to energize their day. Give them a breakfast boost with make-ahead options that can be enjoyed on-the-go in cars and buses. Try portable Scrambled Egg Cups or Oatmeal Cups, which provide plenty of protein to get them through the day. Serve with whole fruit like a banana, apple, strawberries, or grapes.
Unbeatable “Brown Bag” Tips
When it comes to packing school lunches, stick to what your kids like. If they aren’t crazy about something, it may end up in the garbage or get traded for an unhealthy snack. These simple swaps will make your kids’ brown bag lunch unbeatable:
- For sandwiches, swap white bread for healthier brown bread or pita.
- Replace deli meats with lean roasted beef or poultry or low fat cheese.
- For a delicious, nutritious sandwich spread, trade mayonnaise for a mashed avocado. Make fruits and vegetables a go-to snack. Chop up carrots, peppers and celery in advance and stash some in lunch bags with hummus; or sprinkle apple and pear slices with lemon and cinnamon to satisfy a sweet tooth.
- Choose water to hydrate and calcium- and vitamin D-rich milk to strengthen growing bones.
- Fruit like apples, bananas, tangerines and pears are perfectly portable for on-the-go ease.
Smart Swaps for After School
Chips and packaged cookies, move out of the way. Swap chips and packaged cookies for smart after-school snacks that are homemade, nutritious and fun to make.
Custom-create a smoothie. Have kids choose their favorite fruit and vegetables. Toss them into the blender with ice and fat free yogurt for a snack that’s easy, fun and filling.
Make banana sushi rolls. Top a whole grain tortilla with nut butter and a whole banana sprinkled with cinnamon. Roll it up and slice like sushi rolls. (These are great for lunches, too.)
Other after-school smart snacks include:
- Apple slices topped with almond butter.
- Air-popped popcorn (Avoid microwave popcorn, which is often high in trans-fat and sodium.)
- Fresh salsa and tortilla chips.
- Hardboiled eggs are a great option for an on-the-go snack.
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