The ABCs of Healthy Back-to-School Meals and Snacks

The start of the new school year is here! Nutritious and delicious meals and snacks are essential for your child to do her best. Here are some tips for easy meals and snacks that you can make in minutes:

Breakfast

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – research suggests that it’s true – especially for growing bodies.

Without a morning meal, it can be tough to concentrate and kids are more likely to be irritable and tired. What’s more, studies demonstrate the cognitive benefits of eating breakfast, including better test scores, memory time, and even school attendance.

Start your child’s day off right with a balanced breakfast including protein, whole grains, fruit and dairy. Here are some ideas:

On-the-Go Breakfast Burrito

Egg-based breakfasts are a top choice because a large egg has six grams of high-quality protein and 13 essential nutrients including lutein and choline, which are important for brain development.

Make a delicious breakfast burrito in minutes by whipping up eggs with your favorite veggies and salsa, and wrap in a whole grain tortilla.

Overnight Oats

Oats are another great way for your child to start the day. Rich in whole grains, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, oats keep kids you energized and satisfied. Short on time in the morning? No problem! Make ‘overnight oats’ before bed by combining oats with milk or yogurt, fresh fruit, and nuts and place in the fridge to soak overnight. In the morning, you’ll have a chilled on-the-go breakfast.

Lunch

The following lunches make the grade and are ready in minutes:

Turkey and cheese roll up on a whole-wheat wrap

Take a twist on regular sandwiches by using a healthier wrap in place of white bread. Look for wraps that are low in fat, contain at least 5 grams of fiber and are made with whole grains, like Flatout 100% Whole Wheat. For just 100 calories, these wraps pack in 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of filling protein. Load the wrap with dark, leafy greens, turkey and low-fat cheese. Complete this midday meal with a serving of fruit.

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

A well-stocked pantry helps you create veggie-rich, no-fuss meals l in minutes. I make this Three Bean Chili for lunch at least once a week. It takes just 15 minutes and can be prepared ahead and packed in school lunches. Add whole grain crackers or a slice of multigrain bread, a piece of fruit and a dairy option and you have a well-balanced, healthy lunch.

Snacks:

The golden rule for a healthy snack is to make sure it has a good mix of complex carbs, protein and fiber.

Hummus and Veggies

Kids love to dip! And studies show that when veggies are served with a dip, kids eat more of the beneficial vegetables. Rich, creamy hummus provides fiber and protein to keep kids feeling full. Serve it with fresh cut veggies for a convenient snack or lunch box addition.

Cheese with Fruit and Crackers

Low-fat cheese is a great way to pack more protein and calcium into kids’ diets. Combine with whole wheat crackers and fruit, like apple slices or seedless grapes, for added fiber and energy

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