Back to School Healthy Eating

Those long summer days are getting shorter, which means school is just around the corner. Families are getting busier and meal planning is often not a top priority. Many parents find that preparing breakfast and packing school lunches for their children is too time consuming or they simply do not have any ideas of what to make or pack. Healthy eating with a busy schedule for both kids and adults can be a chore, but below are some helpful tips that can make it easier and more fun!

BrainFoodsBetter Brain Foods

  • Berries and cherries are rich in antioxidants that help boost brain function. Add them to a morning smoothie or put them on top of a bowl of cereal or oatmeal
  • Fats fuel our brains. They tend to get a bad reputation because they are high in calories and many people associate them with weight gain. However, some fats that occur naturally in foods like avocado, nuts and seeds are essential for brain health.
  • DHA is the most abundant fatty acid found in the brain. It can be found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna.

Tips for Packing Lunches:

  • Save money by purchasing reusable and washable lunch bags
  • Try to prepare ingredients the night before, like cutting up fruits and veggies
  • Plan lunches when you make dinner, that way you can have leftovers for lunch
  • Buy a thermos for hot soups and chowders, and ice packs to keep food cold

Fruits and Vegetables: Since most kids avoid these foods, try to make them as fun as possible! Cutting up foods into fun shapes will make kids more likely to try them, as will involving kids in shopping and cooking. Ideas for foods than can be prepared ahead of time include: carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, peppers, apples, grapes and oranges.

Spreads and Dip: There are a variety of spreads and dips on the market, but choosing the best one for growing children can sometimes be difficult. Keep it simple by sticking to nut butters without added sweeteners. Nut butters like peanut or almond pair well with produce or crackers. Hummus, a dip made from chickpeas, is easy to make and is also high in protein.

Tail mix: Trail mix is another high protein snack that keeps both kids and adults full and can be made far in advance. It is an easy snack that is mainly is composed of dried fruits and nuts, but other foods like pretzels or chocolate chips can be added in small amounts. You can have your kids create their own trail mix with ingredients from our bulk bins.

Bread: There are a variety of breads on the market now and lunches do not have to be the same-old sliced bread sandwiches. Try using tortillas for wraps, pita bread or crackers with a tuna or chicken salad. Be sure to choose whole wheat as it is higher in protein, fiber and vitamins.

Lunchbox Pita Pocket
Recipe adapted for Homeland
Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients
1 whole wheat pita bread round, cut in half
½ cup deli turkey, chopped
½ cup lettuce, chopped
¼ cup carrot, chopped
¼ cup tomato, chopped
2 Tbs pesto (or other spread)

Instructions
Place turkey and vegetables in a plastic bag. Pour pesto into resealable container. Pack all ingredients into lunchbox. Assemble pita pocket by spooning half the pesto into each pita half and spreading around. Add half the turkey mixture into each half.

Traditional Hummus
Recipe adapted for Homeland
Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients
2 (15.5 ounce) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup water
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tsp cumin
¼ Tsp paprika
1 Tsp salt
Instructions
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
Optional ingredients include pesto, feta cheese, spinach, avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes. Feel free to experiment with other ingredients that your family enjoys!

Pita-and-Tuna

Greek Tuna Pita
Recipe adapted for Homeland
Yield: 2 serving

Ingredients
1 whole wheat pita bread round, cut in half
1 can/pouch tuna
½ cup tomato, chopped

½ cup cucumber, chopped
½ avocado, sliced
1 tablespoon red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, plain

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 leaves Romaine lettuce

2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine tomato, cucumber, avocado, onion, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, olives, and tuna
  2. Place lettuce leaf in each pita half.
  3. Add tuna mixture to pit.
  4. Enjoy!

TrailMix

Kid-Friendly Trail Mix
Recipe adapted for Homeland
Yield: 4.5 cups

Ingredients
2 cups popcorn, popped
½ cup sunflower seeds

¾ cup raisins

½ cup walnuts

½ cup peanuts

¼ cup M&Ms
Instructions
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix. Enjoy!

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