Back to School Tips for an “A” in Nutrition
It’s that time of the year again, and as we get our children ready for their fresh start to a new school year, we would like to share a few of our winning tips to success.
Stock your kitchen right:
Stock your refrigerator with protein packed, high fiber and calcium-rich foods. Think color and convenience. That means a variety of fruits and vegetables, cut up and ready to go. Try packing the items in clear containers and place where the kids can easily locate and reach them. Include low fat dairy items such as Greek yogurt, reduced fat string cheese, pudding and cottage cheese. Keep easily made items on hand such as:tomato salsa/salad, artichoke dip, bean dip, guacamole, Tzatziki,hummus, tuna salad or egg salad to pair with cut up vegetables and whole-wheat pita or corn tortilla chips. Stock up on 1% or fat free milk, and prepare fruit infused water to give the kids the added flavor they may crave. Designate a shelf for these grab and go foods. Lastly, fill up BPA-free water bottles with filtered tap water. Easily reach for that bottle when running for the bus or soccer practice.
Stock your freezer with many colors too. Keeping frozen fruit on hand creates an instant smoothie, an amazing fruit dip or great topping for waffles, pancakes, frozen yogurt or yogurt parfait. Pre-cut vegetables can ease dinnertime chaos, and help get a healthy meal on the table faster. Keep on hand whole-wheat frozen waffles, pancakes and bread, frozen corn tortillas or whole-wheat tortillas or pita. When cooking dinner, make a bit extra, and freeze in single serve containers. This new habit will allow for a healthier dinner when life gets chaotic. Don’t forget about dessert. Low-fat frozen yogurt, ice cream treats made with skim milk as the first ingredient and 100% fruit bar treats can always fit in a healthy freezer.
It helps to categorize your pantry by shelf or area. This will allow for healthier food choices and greater ease when time is tight. Stock a shelf with nuts, seeds, natural peanut butter/sunflower butter, dried fruit and popcorn. Plan ahead and pack snack size containers with nuts and dried fruit. This technique will help prevent eating large portions and also allows for another grab and go snack. Another shelf could include whole-wheat cereals, oatmeal, and whole-wheat pancake mix. Pack cold cereals in large containers and mix cereals to better meet your children’s preferences. Designate an area for more snack-size containers/baggies of corn tortilla chips, Pop Chips, lentil or falafel chips, or whole-wheat pita chips to be paired with the dips you prepared in the refrigerator. Always think about providing protein and fiber at each meal and snack. Don’t forget whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or other grains such as quinoa. Many grains require little time and help put a healthy dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. Also, stock your pantry with dried or boxed/canned beans, tomatoes and good quality tomato sauces to add to the grains. Pack last night’s dinner in a thermos for an amazing lunch the following day.
When your refrigerator, freezer and pantry are stocked right, it allows for greater ease and healthier choices when making breakfast, packing lunches, serving snacks and putting together dinner.
When you are pulled in many directions with many different demands, time gets away from you. Providing and preparing healthy foods is a big challenge. Look into adding some of our Babe’s Faves gadgets to help make life a bit easier. Purchase a good quality blender; whip up a quick breakfast smoothie, make hot soup and amaze the kids by making ice cream! Think about adding a slow cooker to your kitchen. When time doesn’t allow for cooking dinner, walk into dinner already made. A food processer may look intimidating, but it will quickly become your best friend. It will slice, chop, dice and puree your favorite fruits and vegetables to be stored for meals for the entire week with the press of a button, literally!
Stock up now on different portion size containers, thermos, BPA free water bottles, freezer packs, and lunch boxes. Keep these tools (expect for freezer packs) all in one area of your kitchen with napkins and utensils to get a meal out the door fast.
Check out other blogs for some more back to school tips!
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