Today is August 23, 2011. I am not sure if the many elementary schools, middle schools, junior highs, and high schools around your area have started back for the new year, but here in Dallas the first day of the new school year was yesterday. In honor of all the parents, teachers, families, administrators, and children out there, I thought I would do a helpful, healthful eating post! While I don’t have school-age children, I would like to suggest some ideas for healthy and happy school days! The idea is to help get our children into a spot of better health and happiness. In turn, we should have a healthier, happier world in the long run! So, without further ado:
Suggestions for a healthy start:
Breakfast can often be a rushed time during the school year. While weekend breakfasts might focus more on eggs and bacon (a healthy breakfast for all), some parents might like to know some quick breakfast options to help their kids start the school day off right. Here are some ideas:
1. Hard-boil some eggs the night before. Peel them and pack them up in individual baggies. I often put in two per baggie. This is a start. You can add some jerky if you have it on hand. It is a great, quick, healthy breakfast that will give your kids a jump-start on the day!
2. Do your kids like cereal? Get them off of the cereal by making a healthier treat! Try putting together some individual berry and coconut milk cups. Using a lidded container, mix up some raw nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, or pecans) and coconut flakes. In the morning, add some seasonal fruit. Mix this with a cup of coconut milk (in the can or homemade, preferably), and you have a great cereal substitute that is ten times better for your children’s health!
Lunch during the school year can also be challenging. Some simple suggestions are as follows:
1. Pack a healthy lunch for your kids and yourself! While there are many choices available these days, options for healthy living can be challenging. If you take the time to prepare lunches the night before, kids will reap the benefits and so will you! Some options for healthy lunches include left-overs from the night before, hard-boiled eggs, and a variety of veggies.
2. Options to avoid the typical sandwich might be lettuce wraps or special home-made ‘breads’ like the almond muffins I have a recipe for in another blog here: https://alternefit.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/here-is-your-spot-to-share-healthy-recipes/
3. Options to replace those unhealthy, processed foods that are often served in school lunchrooms include things like those left-overs made at home the night before and nitrate- and nitrite-free lunch meats (wait for it….) bacon!
For snacks, a parent might pack some beef jerky (preferably home-made), dried fruits, seeds, nuts, or home-made pork skins. if that is not an option, there are some great resources for pre-packed “Paleo” snacks that include similar options. One thing I have recently done is to take unsweetened coconut flakes, a bit of water, some ground nuts, and a few berries (blueberries and strawberries are my favorites) and put them in a baggie. Then, I smoosh them with my hands until the coconut compacts and creates a bar. This is a very tasty and filling treat! Another idea that kids might enjoy would be to do this with some dark chocolate mixed in. Just shave the chocolate square into the mix and smoosh! Now you have a much healthier version of a candy bar!
Dinners are an important part of the school year. These can be times when parents and children catch up! Try to make dinners at home. Fresh ingredients are always a best choice! I like to make different recipes on Sundays just in case I don’t feel like cooking during the week. This might be a handy idea for those working families with very busy lives. That way, you can just heat it up and have a nice family dinner. Sit at the table with your kids and enjoy those wonderful mealtimes! It is important for all!
Finally, I did want to throw out some suggestions regarding school time activities and sleep. I know these are not foods, but they are just as important to a kid’s and family’s well-being. Make sure you start the day with one of those nice breakfasts I mentioned above, give the kids (and even yourself) every opportunity to have healthy snacks and lunches when away, and join together to cook and have healthy family meals….but don’t forget to have some play time! Outside play time is a great idea for kids and adults! Just a bit of time in the sun will do a world of good. Don’t slather on the sunscreen right away, either. Enjoy the sun while you can. Get that vitamin D! Then, nearing bed-time, take some time to wind down. It might be a good opportunity to read together. Turn off the TV and other distractions, lay down in a family snuggle, and tell stories! This is how I grew up…and it really is one of the best memories of my childhood! I remember my parents reading to my brother and me. We often had back-scratching, story telling sessions that were awesome! It is relaxing, and does help relieve stress! Give it a try!
Well, I do hope this post has helped give some direction for the new school year! Make it a healthy one!
Until next time, folks! Have a healthy day!
For more healthy Paleo Parenting tips, see the following sites:
(Wall O Text Alert:)
Love what you’re doing! Here’s an idea for those that have time over the weekend (or whatever), that can be breakfast for the week: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/quinoa-breakfast-bars-with-blueberries?ecd=wnl_dab_051011
It’s a gluten free fruit packed “cereal” bar. There’s also a lot of really good granola bar recipes on the web- gluten free, HFCS free, and processed sugar free (the ones I’ve saved use local honey), packed full of proteins & dried fruit. So, for busy parents (or anyone that’s busy), these are some ideas that they can make when they have 15-30 minutes of spare time, and have grab & go healthy choices for the weekend.
My littlest one loves to pack his lunch for school. Considering what these kids are served at school, the kid has my total support =p. Typical lunch for him from home includes (but isn’t limited to) the following:
low fat yogurt (w/out 10 billion grams of sugar)
cheese (real, natural cheese- not “processed cheese food”)
raisins, apples, grapes…whatever fruit is on sale
either water, 100% juice, or the juice/veggie blend (that’s 100% fruit/juice, not sugar)
sometimes celery & peanut butter
sliced bell peppers/cucumbers/carrots…whatever raw veggie is on sale that he likes
Occasional random splurge of a jelly sandwich- except it’s not jelly, per se, it’s “simply fruit”; it has maybe 3-5 ingredients, & isn’t packed with sugar
fiber 1 bar (dr’s orders, but I’m going to start looking for one I can make at home that does the same thing, without all the crap in it)
Packing his lunch might take all of 10 minutes, tops, so it’s not a time killer. =)
ANYWAY, I’m totally babbling. Shocking, huh? We’re SUPER proud of you, & totally support what you’re doing. Way to go, girl! Sending love your way!
Well, Dallas, thanks for the suggestions. I would recommend staying away from any of the processed foods, juices, low-fat foods, and rice cakes though. While these things may be touted as healthy, they are actually things I have found to be just as bad as the school lunches. I applaud your efforts. I hope you do find a recipe you like for the bars. There are lots of them out there. Do a search for “Paleo Bars” and you will find a few. I actually made a coconut and almond bar the other day! It’s awesome and better for you!