Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Insider's Viewpoint: Expert Supermarket Advice: Learning & Nutrition . Jennifer Egeland, Hen House Markets. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

August is the time to start thinking about heading back to school! Are you thinking of the ways to help your kids succeed in school? Then consider how important nutrition is to a child’s learning. Healthy foods give them the energy they need so they can stay alert in school. Eating a balanced breakfast will give them energy to start the school day off right, and a healthy lunch will keep them going through the afternoon.

What’s in a balanced meal? Lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy and of course, lots of fruits and vegetables!

Breakfast
Starting your kids off with a healthy breakfast gives them energy. Try to cover at least 2-3 food groups and always include fruits or vegetables.

    Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

    • Cereal with low-fat milk + 100% juice
    • Oatmeal topped with bananas and raisins + a glass of low-fat milk
    • Scrambled eggs with cheese, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions + 100% juice
    • Homemade trail mix [granola, dried fruit, nuts and seeds] + a glass of low-fat milk
    • Yogurt with berries or melon + a breakfast bar

Lunch
Packing healthy lunches can get the kids through the afternoon, and the easiest cold lunch? The sandwich. Try these sandwich variations to keep things interesting…

    • Whole Grains. Use different whole grain products such as whole wheat bread, bagels, buns, and pita bread.
    • Wraps. Instead of a traditional sandwich, try wraps.
    • Tortilla Shells. Spread use tortilla shells with cream cheese then layer with lean meats and vegetables (lettuce, peppers, or spinach) OR spread with peanut butter, jelly and raisins for a fun treat.

Sides
Need a side for your sandwich? Try whole grain chips, pretzels, low-fat string cheese and of course fruits and vegetables. Fruits that travel well in lunches are: apples, oranges, grapes, dried fruit, canned or pre-portioned fruit cups. Also try a small side salad, celery and peanut butter, or carrot sticks and dip.

Drinks
Toss a 100% juice box, some low-fat milk or some water into your child’s lunchbox. Try freezing the juice box the night before so that it can help keep lunch items cool. Drinkable yogurt can also be a great treat.

Don’t forget … add a little note to remind your child to enjoy her/his day or just another “love you” note to make them feel special at lunch time.

Jennifer Egeland, RD LD
Registered Dietitian
Hen House Markets

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