Editor's note: The following is from Edmonds Patch blogger Carolyn Carman. Want to blog for Patch?
Breakfasts and lunches and snacks! OH, MY!
Are you and your family ready for the back-to-school regimen? Has your (lack of) summer schedule gotten you off track? Lots of preparation goes into starting the new school year: buying school supplies and new clothes for growing bodies, preplanning healthy meals and snacks, and getting back on a more structured routine.
Our first challenge may be getting the kids up earlier so they have time for breakfast before they’re out the door—obviously important for focus, attitude and energy.
Start them off with a brainy breakfast so they can sustain their energy for longer periods of time—limit those sugars and carbs! Try some of these ideas to get everyone off to a great start each morning: eggs; toast and peanut butter; granola, yogurt and fruit.
Or, try a delicious smoothie loaded with healthy goodies: I use a plant-based protein powder with fruit and rice milk and then add either spinach or kale (which you can’t taste). Skip those sugary cereals and pop tarts. Instead, try whole grains to avoid sugar highs and lows.
Another challenge is what to put in the lunchbox. Although it’s easier to just pick up those processed foods, they aren’t really good options. Those foods are de-natured and chock-full of chemicals, and over time, they lead to imbalances.
Go for REAL foods, meant to fuel the body: fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, lean meats. Avoid or limit foods such as American Cheese; Wonder Bread; Lunchables, Hostess brands; packaged chips, pastries, or crackers—the less the better.
How about a half sandwich with turkey, a little cucumber (get those veggies in where you can) or avocado, and a little lettuce on whole wheat bread, along with a few cut up carrots and half an apple on the side. Try pita pockets for sandwiches, filled with veggies like avocado, cucumber, sprouts, and lettuce plus a little hummus. Another option: homemade soup.
Now, how about snacks. Do you have a good selection of healthy finger-foods on hand? For example: celery and peanut butter, cut-up veggies and dip, nuts—almonds, or walnuts with apple slices. Keep fresh fruit on the table: bananas, apples, oranges or other favorites. Dried fruits (raisins, apricots) or frozen fruit (blueberries, grapes) make a great option—kids love them. Do you limit snacks until a certain time? Ever had your child say I'm not hungry after snacking all afternoon?
See what new ideas and variety you can come up with! Talk to other moms about healthy options, look through health books, visit Manna Foods or PCC or Whole Foods stores.
If some items are too pricey, take your ideas and shop sales. Make a list of options for when you get into a rut: we all have busy lives, so make it easy on yourself and more fun by planning ahead. Go by the 80/20 rule: 80% healthy, then 20% for less healthy options once you get the healthy part covered. Get creative!
Here’s to getting those kiddos off to a great school year with the nutrition their growing bodies and brains need and deserve!
And let’s acknowledge you parents for all you do for your kids. Blessings for a great school year.
See you next time with more brainy ideas from the The Rainbow Diet with Carolyn Carman! Go to carolyncarman.com for more ideas on healthy eating and the value of fruits and veggies.