It's back-to-school time, which means schedules are starting to form again but it's also busier than ever. Busy times tend to greatly affect what we eat and what we provide for kids to eat. It's so much easier to heat up frozen dinners, run through the drive through or survive on whatever we can find than it is to keep it healthy and clean. So, this week I have some back-to-school inspiration to help keep you and your family on track during this hectic season.
One way you can ensure your kids get proper nutrition during the school year is to fill their lunch boxes with nutrient-dense, colorful finger foods that they enjoy. To keep it fun, let your kids pick what they want to eat by filling out a lunch chart like the one below. You can print a pre-made chart, or make your own by listing ingredients you already have on-hand. This idea would work great for breakfast or dinner too!
Some other ideas for a nutritious school year include:
Prepare & Organize - You can't succeed at healthy eating (consistently) if you don't prepare and stay organized. Pack lunches and prepare snacks at night before bed, that way there are no excuses during the day to stray from healthy eating. Taking the time to prepare and organize have an added bonus of decreasing stress levels during busy seasons.
Create Snack Areas - Store ready-to-eat, nutrient-filled snacks in the lower area of the fridge and on lower levels of your pantry so kids can easily access a healthy treat after school. Cleaning and cutting up fruits and veggies ahead of time will help with this a lot and is a great time saver in general!
Keep Junk Food Out - Equally important as keeping nutritious snacks readily available, is keeping junk food out of the house. If it's not there, it's not a choice and that is more than half the battle won already.
Teach Kids About Nutrition - Pretty soon, young kids will be doing this "preparing or choosing meals thing" on their own and they need to know WHAT foods are good for them and WHY. Make meal prep fun and talk about the specific health benefits of different foods as your purchase them or prepare them!
Because eating healthier and decreasing stress both help promote good health and vitality, implementing some of these tips can help make this school year one of the best ones yet!
Kayla Michel, MS, RD/LD
Duncan Regional Hospital
Back-to-school lunch ideas. Digital Image. Vicky Barone. A Little Moxie, LLC. Web 18 Aug 2016.
Great back 2 school lunch ideas. Digital Image. Lil' Luna. Lil' Luna, 2015. Web 18 Aug 2016.
Kids playing. Digital Image. First Steps Bismarck. Web 19 Aug 2016.