Try some of these easy snacks and meal ideas to ensure a nutrition-packed school year!
Quick and Easy Breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast is the best way for kids to start their day off right before heading off to school. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate homemade meal, but it shouldn’t be a sugary Fruit Loop cereal either. Try to avoid a breakfast with a lot of carbohydrates because this will often lead to a sugar spike of energy then they will bottom out in just a couple of hours. With rushed, busy mornings it can be difficult to have time to make breakfast, so here are some options to try out in order to make the mornings quick and easy!
Overnight oats – by taking a little bit of your time the night before you can simply grab out your oats in the morning which are a good source of fiber and top with blueberries for antioxidants or nuts for some protein
Hard boiled eggs – having hard boiled eggs in the fridge make for an easy grab and eat breakfast that is an excellent source of protein, B-vitamins, zinc, calcium, and more
Chia seed pudding – this can also be prepped the night before and makes for a protein packed breakfast full of omega-3s and fiber as well
Low sodium lunch meat – although you might think of it in terms of making deli sandwiches for lunch, lunch meat can also be a quick protein source for breakfast
Yogurt with Protein – yogurt that has zero to low sugar and contains protein can be a great breakfast option to grab out of the fridge and can even be topped with fresh fruit or nuts for added nutrition
Whether it’s a snack for your kid to eat at school or one for when they come home hungry, snacks should contain good sources of protein along with healthy fats. Having healthy snack options ready and available helps avoid the urge to just grab a bag of chips or cookies. For instance, try some of these simple combos below.
Apple slices with peanut butter
Rice cake with peanut butter
Celery sticks and peanut butter
Veggies and hummus
Protein bar or healthy granola bar
Whole-grain crackers and cheese
Apple slices and cheese
Lunch meat rolled with low carb cheese stick and/ or veggies
Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)
Greek/ protein yogurt and fresh fruit
No-bake energy balls
Avoid Bad Habits with Drinks
Hydration is also key to a healthy lifestyle, however, often we are surrounded by unhealthy energy drinks, teas, lemonades, soda, and more. These are often packed with sugars even if it might not seem like it is based on sugar grams because they still contain lots of carbohydrates which convert into sugars. Unhealthy drink options are filled with empty calories that often still leave you thirsty and not hydrated. We’re not expecting you to live life drinking only pure water, but maybe give some options below a try instead of reaching for something like coke or gatorade.
Infused water – try adding orange slices, lime, cucumber slices, or fresh mint to water
Sugar free flavor packs – although artificial flavoring isn’t the best, you can change up a simple water bottle by adding a flavor packet of your choice
Organic Milk – some people may have a sensitivity to dairy so alternative options like almond or coconut milk might be better for them, but if that’s not the case for you then organic milk is a great drink option
Protein Shake – if you are looking for more of a filling drink, simply add protein powder to water in a shaker bottle and shake until mixed or blend with ice for a frozen drink
Reading Nutrition Labels
When it comes to healthy eating, one thing that people often overlook is an item’s nutrition label. Reading labels and especially paying attention to serving size, servings per container, and carbohydrates are important to look for the next time you are in the grocery store. Some facts might even surprise you. For instance, some drinks like gatorade have 2.5 servings in one container. Or some things that might be advertised as low in sugar really contain lots of carbohydrates which will convert into sugars. In the future, consider reviewing nutrition labels to understand exactly what you are consuming.
For a full nutritional assessment or more nutrition tips, contact GLIM to learn more about an integrative medicine approach to nutrition this school year.