With kids back to school, it’s more important than ever to support their healthy development and give them every possible advantage in the classroom. On top of ensuring the kiddos complete their homework every day and make it out the door on time, parents are now more focused than ever on the importance of proper nutrition in their diet. However, giving children a once-a-day vitamin may not be the best route anymore as research has shown that nutrients from natural sources (ahem, real whole foods) are more readily absorbed and utilized by their growing bodies.
Hurried parents who pack their kids lunches every day may find it a bit frustrating to keep it both healthy and tasty, especially for those picky eaters. Shane Griffin, the CEO of Whole Life Balance “ an international nutritional coaching company “ has worked with many parents who have faced this same struggle. Shane’s solution? Keep reading for some tips for sneaking nutrients into your kids food with these 5 school lunch nutritional hacks -as well as three healthy back to school treats!
Swoonworthy School Lunch Nutritional Hacks
#1 Utilize Powdered foods: Powdered whole foods have recently made their way into the market, and they are an excellent tool for parents whose kids are picky eaters. Say your kid craves Mac n Cheese every week – the boxed versions have little nutrition on their own. By adding Activz’s powdered carrots and pumpkin into your own creation, you’re giving your kid a tasty treat while greatly boosting the nutritional value of an otherwise unhealthy meal. Believe it or not, mac n cheese can be loaded with raw protein and living nutrients, yet taste normal and delicious. Super mild and creamy, this mac is both kid- and parent-approved. Gluten-free and very low dairy.
Check out all the delicious recipes here.
#2 Embrace the superfruit fad: Superfruit is an overused term these days, but it came to light for a good reason: Some fruits just pack a bigger nutritional punch than others. One of my favorite newcomers is camu camu, a fruit straight out the Amazon Rainforest with 30X the Vitamin C of an orange and 10X the antioxidant capacity of acai. Immune-boosting Vitamin C is especially important with kids headed back into the classroom, as research shows that 164 million school days are missed yearly due to infectious diseases.
#3 Go lean or go home: Not all meats are created equal, but they are a great source of protein that every growing body craves. A great way to boost the nutritional value of any school lunch is to substitute leaner meats into the mix. Try using ground turkey instead of beef in your meatloaf or meatballs, or if you’re making tacos try substituting pork ribs for the ground beef you’re accustomed to. If your kid loves chicken, skip the fried version for a nice organic boneless, skinless alternative. Remember, proper seasoning is important to keep the flavor consistent!
#4 Bake in the goodness: Most kids are fans of baked treats, but they don’t have to know how the cookie is made they just care how it tastes! If you’re cooking muffins or cookies, try using organic applesauce as the base. Then, toss in some ground flaxseed or wheat germ into the batter to boost the nutritional content. If you’re feeling extra bold, adding in pureed squash, zucchini or banana to really give it a healthy lift. Substituting healthy alternatives like these will teach your kids that tasty doesn’t have to mean unhealthy!
Try this Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe- perfect to pack in your kid’s lunch box!
Blend in a nutritional boost: Smoothies can be your best friend, and give you a chance to really provide whole food nutrients in the tastiest way possible. As a base, use organic milk or a dairy alternative like rice or almond milk. Load up the smoothie with spinach, berries, and a banana for sweetness. Remember, Omega-3’s are a vital part of your kid’s brain development, so add in some Sea-liocous Omega-3‘s to create the ultimate powerhouse smoothie!
And don’t forget the snacks! With school getting starting back up, healthy after school snacks are making a comeback. Sonima, a health and wellness site focused on fitness, yoga, meditation and healthy nutrition, shares the values of mind body connection. Sonima offers various meditations as well as nutritious recipes to help you stay healthy and happy. As kids head back to school, Sonima Chef Joy Houston is sharing three recipes for homemade , healthy back to school snacks!
Both delicious and nutritious, these bars are the perfect after school/after practice snack to help your body refuel and re-energize! For the step by step process you can watch Chef Joy create these delicious treats right here and here is the recipe