September is one of the busiest months of the year. Whether you have children or not, everyone seems to be gearing up for the fall season. For parents one of the biggest challenges is not only what’s for dinner, but how to ensure your kids have the fuel needed to be happy and productive.
We all know that eating nutritious meals and snacks each day helps children be healthy and ready to learn. This is so much easier to say than to do. It takes time to plan, shop and create meals and snacks and that alone won’t guarantee your child will actually eat any of it.
Here are some tips to help start off the school year right.
Most children are hungry in the morning, after all they have gone all night without food. A nutritious breakfast provides the energy and essential nutrients required for healthy minds and bodies. Breakfast does not need to take a lot of time, it can be both quick and nutritious. These breakfast suggestions can all be made in under 10 minutes.
Egg and cheese english muffin sandwich (hard boil eggs the night before & warm in microwave)
Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
Bagel with cream cheese & fresh fruit
Scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa in a whole wheat tortilla
Overnight oatmeal with yogurt & fruit
How to avoid the dreaded uneaten lunch box at the end of the day. What parent hasn’t worried about their child being hungry because they barely touched their lunch. It’s a common concern. So what’s a parent to do? The most common advice is to get kids involved in planning their own lunch. I think this works for some but my kids weren’t interested in having to think about their lunches.
Something that did work for me was to know what my kids liked and didn’t like (hated). Keep in mind when planning, that lunch should contain breads, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy products. Planning at the beginning of the week for lunches also decreases the stress and anxiety around getting lunches ready.
Even children who like sandwiches get tired of them pretty quickly and some do not like sandwiches at all. Including variety in the menu can prevent children from getting bored with their lunch and hopefully will help with the untouched lunch box dilemma. Here are some cold lunch ideas that won’t break the bank and are likely to be foods that you have in the refrigerator.
Chicken Fingers and dip
Hard boiled eggs, pickle & pita chips
Sliced veggies with yogurt dip & crackers
Sliced veggies with hummus and pita chips
Snacks are very important for kids as they often choose less nutritious snacks that are quick, high in calories, fat or sugar. Nutritious snacks can help keep them satisfied between meals and also provide energy and important nutrients. Taking the time to think ahead and have nutritious snacks on hand may help minimize the amount of junk food your child eats.
Crackers with cheese or peanut butter
Carrots & dried fruit
Berries & yogurt
Apple & almonds
Air popped popcorn
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