As you start to prepare for September and the dreaded ‘F’ word (Fall) here are my top three back to school nutrition tips to help your kids do their best this year.
1. Break the Overnight Fast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day not only because we’re literally breaking our overnight fast but because skipping breakfast can lead to missed nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, which are hard to make up for during the day. Studies also suggest that children who eat breakfast perform better in school – they have improved memory, better test grades, greater school attendance and better behavior.
I get it! Getting ready in the morning is already a busy time but a little planning the night before can go a long way. Try these tips: have the kids set the table for breakfast after dinner, keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter, and stock easy to pack breakfast items such as trail mix, hard cooked eggs, hummus and fruit.
2. Snack Smart
Children have smaller stomachs than adults and therefore need plenty of nutritious snacks to keep them going between meals to provide energy and important nutrients. Unfortunately, children often choose less nutritious snacks because of the fantastic job companies do marketing products that are high in calories, fat and sugar. The secret to a good snack is protein and fibre – both fill you up and give you sustainable energy. Here are some of my favourite snacks but check out this old post for the complete list.
- Cottage cheese or plain greek yogurt with fruit
- Hummus or guacamole with whole wheat pita bread or veggies
- Roasted chick peas – see recipe below
- Pumpkin seed butter with dried figs
3. Meal Planning
Plan well: look at the family calendar to see where everyone is for the week and plan meals accordingly. What activities or social events are taking place? How many days are available to make a homemade meal?
Do some prep work before Monday: cut up a variety of fruits and vegetables, hard-boil some eggs, make ahead muesli for breakfast, and a chia seed pudding for a snack
Lastly at dinner: double the ingredients of the meal for lunch leftovers for mom & dad or freezer dinners for later that week when the calendar is full of activities and there is no time to make a proper dinner.
Roasted Chick Peas:
- 1 540mL can of chick peas - give a good rinse
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Dash dried chili flakes (optionally)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Toss chick peas with oil, rosemary, garlic and seasonings
- Line sheet with parchment paper and bake chick peas for 30-40 min stirring often
Happy School Year!
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