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Smart nutrition

Give your kids a healthy start as they head back to school with these smart nutrition strategies:

Prioritize Breakfast: research shows that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school with higher test scores and fewer behavioral issues.   

  • For a quick and healthy breakfast, enjoy whole grain cereal with less than 10 grams sugar, low-fat milk, a piece of fruit, and/or yogurt. 

Provide Variety:  diverse options help ensure kids get the nutrients they need from each food group.  Mix up lunch with these wrap variations.

  • Spread a whole grain tortilla with mustard, hummus, or pesto. Fill with grilled chicken salad or assorted lean meats. Add cheese, tomato, sliced onion, avocado and shredded Romaine lettuce.   
     
  • For a Mexican theme, fill with guacamole, salsa, black beans, grilled chicken (optional), and brown rice.

Wrap in foil and pack in an insulated lunchbox. 

Prep Smart Snacks: pack a healthy lunch side or after-school snack.

  • Fruit cup (packaged in water or juice) or fresh fruit.
  • Applesauce (no sugar added).
  • Nuts (if age and allergy appropriate).  ALDI carries 100 calorie single serve almond packets which offers convenience and portion control.
  • Raw veggies such as carrot sticks, sugar snap peas, colorful snacking bell peppers, or celery sticks.
  • Cheese sticks — available in 2% sharp cheddar or part skim-milk mozzarella.
  • Individually wrapped snack bars with 3 or more grams of fiber, less than 10 grams sugar, and no more than 1gram saturated fat.  (KIND and Fiber One bars are a favorite in my house).
  • Yogurt with less than 10-12 grams of sugar per serving. Better yet, opt for plain and add honey or fruit.

Partner with your child: kids are more likely to accept healthy options if they are involved in the planning and preparation.  Invite them to select from a list of healthy foods and encourage them pack their own lunch.

Check out eatright.org for more back to school nutrition tips and news for kids of every age.