Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eating At School in A Healthy Manner!



Many of you have children starting school this fall, and if you are like me, figuring out healthy snacks and lunches can often be a challenge. Therefore, today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite ideas to keep your little munchkins' tummies full this school year!

When preparing snacks and lunches for school-age children, keep in mind what the National Food Guides recommend.

If you are living in Canada, click here for more information on recommended servings for each food group.

If you are living in the United States, check out Choose My Plate to plan your meals


Grains:

1. Crackers (of all kinds)
2. Bagels
3. Whole Wheat Bread for sandwiches
4. English Muffins (for mini pizzas)
5. Rice Cakes
6. Pita Bread
7. Tortillas (use for wraps or bake the night before for homemade chips)
8. Biscuits
9. Graham Crackers
10. Breads, like Banana Bread


Dairy:

1. Milk (white, chocolate, almond, rice, etc)
2. Cheese
3. yogurt
4. Soy Beans
5. Tofu
6. Cottage Cheese
7. Cream Cheese spreads (mix with jam/jelly and serve on crackers)
8. Pudding
9. Smoothies


Meats and Alternatives:

1. Lean Deli Meats
2. Nuts like Almonds (for schools that are not Nut-Free)
3. Eggs (hard boiled for example)
4. Shredded Chicken
5. Pulled Pork (use in buns for a great sandwich)
6. Veggie Burgers
7. Beef or Chicken Quesadillas
8. Shredded Turkey (great for Thanksgiving leftovers)
9. Chicken, Beef or Turkey Soups
10. Hummus with veggies


Fruit:

1. Apples
2. Bananas
3. Berries
4. Pears
5. Kiwi
6. Peaches
7. Plums
8. Raisins
9. Craisins
10. Dried Fruit/Trail Mix


Vegetables:

1. Celery (with Peanut Butter is a great combo, and add raisins for "Ants on a Log")
2. Bell Pepper Slices
3. Baby Carrots
4. Cucumbers
5. Cherry Tomatoes
6. Olives
7. Corn Niblets
8. Peas
9. Sugar Snap Peas
10. Salad Greens like Romaine Lettuce and Spinach

All of the above foods can be combined in any ways that work for your child and family.

A great way to get your child involved with  helping to make their lunches is to create a board with laminated pictures of the various foods you have for the week.

Put velcro on the back of the pictures and on the board, and allow your child to mix and match the foods, so that all five food groups are represented. The board could even be color coded to match the group (white for dairy, red for meat, green for veggies, brown or tan for grains, and orange or yellow for fruits).

It is my hope and prayer that you all have a fantastic, healthy and yummy school year!

What are your favorite foods to include in your child's lunches or snacks for school?


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