It sounds like the school year is off to another unhealthy start. In all honesty, I didn’t think that food could still shock me. But after reading the upcoming school menu, “shocked” is putting it mildly.
Look, I get it. Its fun for kids to “buy” their lunch at school. I also realize that my healthy, home-packed lunches help protect my kids—even on the days they want to buy the occasional “hot lunch”.
Here are three key points to protecting your kids’ health (for days when they “buy” lunch):
- Make sure they eat a high-protein, low sugar and high-fiber breakfast
- Add healthy snacks to “round out” the school lunch: pumpkin seeds (good protein), sliced apples (drizzled in lemon or orange juice to prevent discoloration)
- Fill in the nutritional “blanks” after school with healthy snack choices
So let’s start their day with a healthy breakfast that includes some of the following items:
- Lean, healthy protein: peanut (or some other nut) butter, eggs, turkey bacon, chicken sausage, Greek yogurt or a glass of good old milk. Why not “real” bacon or sausage? Since they’ll be eating fatty meats later in the day, I focus on serving very lean protein at home.
- High-fiber, complex carbohydrates: whole grain toast (at least 2.5 grams of fiber per slice), high fiber cereal like Kashi Go Lean.
- High-fiber fruit and/or veggies: Apples, bananas, pears, omelet with veggies
Here is my favorite recipe for a healthy after school smoothie:
Blueberry Brain Bliss Smoothie
I love blueberries, in fact, I call them brain berries. Their antioxidants have been shown to support brain health (great at any age!).
2 cups of Blueberries
1 medium banana
2 cups of 1% milk
¾ cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. of ground flaxseed
3-5 ice cubes
½ of an avocado
Drizzle of dark honey (if you or your kids like the smoothie a bit sweeter)
Add all the ingredients into a blender and mix until you get the consistency you desire.
Servers four, 6 ounce smoothies.
Why this smoothie is so good for you:
• Approximately 2 servings of fruit/serving.
• High in fiber
• High in heart healthy omega fatty acids
• Good dose of vitamin E.
• Full of lean protein