The 2017-2018 school year is upon us! Are you ready for your kids to go back to school? I have a feeling if we could hear you, many of you would be cheering. The excitement of the new school year brings along some challenges like healthy meals on the go, for example. If you are anything like my family, we run out of the door with breakfast in one hand, and a questionably nutritious lunch made up of leftovers in the other.
We are here to help your mornings go a little smoother. Here are five healthy eating back-to-school hacks to use this year to help keep your family healthy and happy!
1. Choose breakfast and lunch at school! School meals have undergone a huge makeover in the past couple years—and with new regulations, school meals look way different than they did when we were in school. Schools are working overtime to offer fresh, local products for students to enjoy. Did you know that the milk at your child’s school is fresh from the farm in less than 48 hours? That’s right! School milk is just as fresh and local as the milk in your refrigerator at home. And all five food groups are sure to be offered to your child at each service time.
2. Pack up snacks the night before. It may seem daunting at first but packing up your kiddo’s food the night before is one of the easiest ways to make sure they are eating well throughout the day.
3. Set up a snack drawer so they can help you pack! This hack helps get everything ready quickly and ensures that your kids will come home with an empty lunch bag. In the refrigerator, stock a drawer with string cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt, hard boiled eggs and other favorite snacks. Designate a drawer or basket with healthy shelf-stable snacks too. Whole grain toast, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit like mangos or raisins, paired with protein-rich foods like dairy make a great snack.
4. Pre-make smoothies and store them in reusable food pouches or to-go cups. These are perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast or make a simple addition to any lunch! Plus when you make your smoothies with milk and/or yogurt, they are not only delicious but also pack a protein punch to keep kids fuller for longer.
*Pro-tip: Use frozen pouches as ice packs to keep food cool. By lunch time, everything in the lunch box will have stayed cooled and the smoothie will have thawed out to be easily drinkable!
5. Try making kebabs for your kiddo who isn’t too keen on sandwiches. Kebabs are fun and easy to throw together. Get creative and have fun! Here are some combos to try:
a. Lunch meat, cheese, cucumbers, and olives
b. Strawberries, cheese, and grapes
c. Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, grilled chicken