Healthy Parents, Healthy Kids: Snacks and meals to make it through the school year

With the start of school right around the corner, it’s time to start planning for a healthy school year. How can you support your health goals, while also teaching the value of healthy living to your children? Why not start with a healthy snack drawer and healthy lunch choices.

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Kids often need a snack after school before they dive right into homework before dinner. Create a tub or drawer just for them, with approved after school snacks. You want foods that will help them concentrate and provide just enough energy to take them to dinner. Here are a few choices.

  • Nut mix- unsalted nuts provide healthy fats, which are true brain food! Portion out a handful of nuts as a snack. If they really want something sweet, mix in some dark chocolate chunks, but not too many.
  • Sliced apples and almond butter
  • Veggies and hummus- portion out a mixture of baby carrots and cucumbers with hummus.
  • Turkey wraps- take 2-3 organic turkey slices and add some avocado or greens in the middle, then roll them up.
  • Muffin- muffins made with coconut flour and/or almond flour are full of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Make them at the beginning of the week. You can freeze extras.
School lunches can be a real problem for some kids, especially picky eaters. Create a list for them at the beginning of the week with things they can choose from. Here are some examples:
Protein: chicken, bison, turkey, hard-boiled eggs, veggie burger, quinoa, lentils
Vegetables: baby carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery, sweet potatoes/sweet potato fries, squash, bell peppers
Fruit: apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, banana, dates, pineapple, cantaloupe
Healthy fat: avocado, almond butter, macadamia nuts, hummus
You can allow children to pick one protein, two vegetables, one fruit and one healthy fat. Alternatively, you could select 2-3 meals and let them pick what they want each day so that you can make them earlier on in the week and portion out as needed.
The best part about the snack drawer and menu planner is that your children still have choices. They get the chance to pick something healthy for themselves. Incorporating these things early on will help them down the road. And of course, planning ahead by having healthy options ready means that you can share the same meals and snacks if you choose. It makes things easier on everyone.

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