Whether your kid is starting kindergarten or you’re back in the office, these Back to School Tips and Meal Ideas can help your family stay healthy throughout the year.
Although it might be easier to let the kiddos eat at school, cafeteria meals usually lack vital nutrients that homemade whole food meals provide. Not only do kids benefit from foods packed from home, but having a brown bag yourself can help you resist office junk food temptations. With a little planning and preparation, you can juggle a hectic schedule without compromising your family’s health or packing on the pounds.
10 Back to School Nutrition Tips
1. Hydrate Upon Waking
Enhance hydration by starting each morning with a large glass of cold water and pack a bottle to refill throughout the day. Listen to your body and drink when thirsty. Add variety to plain H2O with cooling cucumber slices, zesty citrus wedges, spicy grated ginger or refreshing frozen berries.
2. Choose Whole Foods
No matter how you spend your day, strive for natural whole foods over man-made processed products. Whole, single-ingredient foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts are high in nutrients that support health. In contrast, processed products, such as chips, cookies, snack bars, pretzels, and 100-calorie packs spike insulin levels and provide few nutrients. The less refined a food is, the more it will benefit your body.
3. Ask For Help
Ask your family to help create a grocery list, read food labels, plan a menu, pack lunches and snacks, prepare a salad, wash veggies, or do the dishes. With family teamwork, it will be easier for everyone to have fun eating healthy together. Getting kids involved is also a great way to breakthrough picky eating habits.
4. Create a Meal Plan
Real Plans online meal plan subscription creates new menus with kitchen-tested, picky-eater-approved, time-saving recipes and grocery lists that are customizable to fit your family’s size, schedule, and tastes. With a weekly menu in place, it’s much easier to eat healthily, prevent food waste and save money.
5. Stock Your Kitchen
Half the battle of eating healthy is to have nutritious foods on hand. Prepare yourself by stocking your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy ingredients, so you can whip up something delicious in minutes. If you have it on hand, you’re more likely to eat it. The same goes for junk food, so don’t buy it! Make shopping easy with online resources such as Thrive Market and Amazon Fresh.
6. Cook in Batches
Prep and cook food in batches or double the recipe to ensure plenty of leftovers. Cook once and eat for several meals to save time and effort. Use an Instant Pot for kitchen support. An Instant Pot is an appliance that functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer and more. It’s versatile, convenient, and easy to use. Set it, forget it, and come home to a warm home-cooked meal.
7. Eat a Colorful Breakfast
Typical breakfast foods such as cereal and low-fat milk, a bagel and low-fat cream cheese, or a muffin and juice are low in nutrients and can make you sluggish and sleepy. Instead, eat a protein-rich breakfast to provide your body and brain with the energy and focus needed for an amazing day. Think outside the cereal box and enjoy a fresh colorful breakfast such as steel-cut oatmeal with diced apples and dates or a wild blueberry smoothie with bananas and orange.
8. Pack Lunches & Snacks
Pack healthy snacks and lunch from home. Easy snacks to pack include apple and walnuts, almond butter and celery, carrots and hummus, or yogurt and berries. Quick brown bags include roast beef roll-ups, ham and apple stacks or a lettuce-wrapped burger with avocado. Boost nutrients by choosing greens such as spinach, arugula or broccoli, over grains such as bread, pasta, and pizza.
9. Add Veggies at Dinner
Dinner is the perfect opportunity to try different vegetables. Start with a salad or nibble on raw veggies as an appetizer. Vegetables make a great addition to any meal. Add a healthy fat to veggies to increase nutrients and add flavor, such as pastured butter and asparagus or olive oil and tomatoes.
10. Try Meal Delivery
If you don’t like to cook, are too busy or too tired, then try a meal delivery that offers quick-to-prepare meals shipped to your door. Meal delivery services help make eating easy effortless.
Back to School Meal Ideas
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Wellness Coach, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner,