Crazy as it seems, it really is back to school time. In many parts of the country, kids have a few more weeks of summer left–here in Ohio, school starts for most districts this week.
And the start of school, means the start of school lunches, which means the inevitable “dunno” to the question “What do you want for lunch?” Girlfriend Guru and food expert LISA MCDANIEL BROWN shares great advice about lunches (and other meals) for kids.
Back to school – somehow summer is quickly coming to a close and school is upon us. Back to school shopping and preparation are in full-swing. Backpacks, notebooks, folders, pencils…sometimes those lists go on and on.
But, let’s talk about what your child REALLY needs to be successful during the school year – and it has nothing to do with backpacks, notebooks, and pencils. Every child needs nutritious meals and snacks that will fuel them throughout the entire school day.
Kids in this country are set up for nutritional failure. The marketing and advertising aimed at American children tells them that processed foods filled with sugar, artificial colors, and chemicals are just what they should be eating. Mac and cheese, chicken fingers, pizza, French fries, and sugary drinks (that have NO nutritional value whatsoever) are all aimed directly at our children. Ever notice you never see a commercial touting the benefits of broccoli?!
Instead of sending your child off to school with a sugary bowl of cereal for breakfast and a processed meat sandwich for lunch, here are three foods you can feed your kids that will help their bodies (and brains) perform their best:
- Real Nut Butters – Peanut butter, almond butter – it may take some time to convert the family from the taste of sugary peanut butter to natural peanut butter, but stick with it! Nut butters are packed with protein and good fats, plus Vitamin E, Vitamin B3 and iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Spread it on toast for breakfast, make a PB & J for lunch (with low sugar jam or jelly, banana slices, or honey), have an after school snack of apple slices with a nut butter
- Steel Cut Oats – Think of this as oatmeal’s big brother. Steel cut oats aren’t processed (meaning all the nutrients are still in tact). Cook steel cut oats the night before and keep this in the frig; you can rehydrate it in the AM using your favorite milk. A bowl of steel cut oats with berries, milk, almond milk, rice milk, honey or nuts – your choice – and your child will feel full and well-fueled.
- Eggs – Eggs are a great source of protein and other nutrients including B Vitamins and zinc. Scramble them for breakfast or dinner (I love breakfast for dinner) or pack a hard boiled egg in a lunch bag.
What food should you avoid giving your kids?
- Anything where the first ingredient is sugar. That means you really should start reading labels. Sugar masquerades in foods under dozens of names, look for words that end in –ose, such as high fructose corn syrup.
Here’s to a healthy, successful school year for all!
What are your tips for school lunches?
LISA MCDANIEL BROWN is a health and nutrition expert, and founder of LMB Health. Before blogging and speaking, Lisa was a broadcaster, PR/Marketing professional, and event planner with a degree in Communications. Her passion for health & well-being was nurtured from an early age – her father was a physician who specialized in weight control and longevity (and he’s still alive and thriving at age 97). Lisa grew up thinking everyone knew how to eat well and live their best life
Thanks Lisa for sharing! Check out her previous Girlfriend Guru guest posts:
- Five Things You can do to Have a Healthier Summer
- Girlfriend Gathering at Whole Foods – Healthy Eating
- Girlfriend Advice on Working out
- You HAVE to Try this New Diet Advice
- Put Yourself First – at least sometimes!
- New Years Resolutions
- Healthy Holiday Tradition
- Uh Oh – I forgot to eat healthy today!
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