Since the kids are back in school, it’s a great time to re-evaluate yours and your family’s eating habits. With the start of school comes making lunches and preparing snacks once the kids get home, so why not make them the healthiest as possible? It will not only benefit your family, but it will also benefit you, helping you to stay on track and keep extra pounds at bay.
When preparing your lunches, make sure to make them balanced, packing a serving of lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates, vegetables and fruit. For some ideas, see below:
1. Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread or a turkey wrap on a whole wheat tortilla (La Tortilla Factory 100 calorie) with lettuce, tomato, pickles and hummus or Tzatziki sauce instead of mayo. Pack a handful of baby carrots and cherry tomatoes with a piece of fruit or all natural (no-sugar added) applesauce or a fruit cup. For a beverage, stick with water.
2. Mix a ½ cup of cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of dill. Pack of handful of baby carrots and some all natural (no-sugar added) applesauce.
3. Make mini pizzas using whole wheat english muffins, pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, chopped chicken and a sprinkle of fresh basil. Put these in the toaster oven until the cheese is melted. You can make these the night before, let them cool and pack them for lunch the next day. Along with the pizza, pack a handful of baby carrots and piece of fruit or fruit cup.
4. When you are really short on time, pack a yogurt, handful of baby carrots, a piece of fruit (or applesauce or fruit cup) and some whole wheat crackers or pita chips, such as ak-mak crackers.
For some healthy snack ideas, see below:
1. Celery pieces filled with natural peanut butter.
2. Baby carrots and cherry tomatoes with hummus.
3. Slices of low-fat cheese with whole wheat crackers, such as ak-mak.
4. A ½ of a whole wheat english muffin with a teaspoon of natural peanut butter on top.
5. A ½ cup of cottage cheese with peach or nectarine slices.
6. String cheese and an apple or other piece of fruit.
7. Trader Joe’s Fiber Fruit Leather.
In addition to serving these lunch or snack ideas to your kids, you can eat these, too. They are not only tasty, but also very nutritious! All of these ideas are very easy and take less than 10 minutes to prepare, so they are perfect for a busy lifestyle.
If you don’t have time to prepare anything, make sure to check out the labels on prepared meals or snacks. Aim for items that contain less than 250 mg of sodium, no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup and have less than 250 calories per serving (150 calories for snack items). If you live in the Sacramento area, check out Trader Joe’s, the Nugget or the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop, as they have a wonderful variety of healthy prepared food items.