Healthy Meals for Back to School
Do you struggle with trying to get healthy foods into your kids?
It’s always hard to eat healthy and making healthy meals for your kids can be even more stressful when you’re running to various activities and trying to rush everyone out the door.
Here are two simple ideas to keep in mind to help you make back to school meals healthier.
More nutrients per bite
We often fill ourselves up on foods that don’t add a lot of value to our bodies in terms of actual nutrients. Think about adding vitamins, minerals to each meal or eat bite. You can also subtract unhealthy ingredients to take it one step further.
Here are some examples:
Let’s say your kid loves cereal for breakfast:
- Add [st_tooltip type=”top” tooltip_text=”HEALTHY FACTS: The fruits of berries (all types) are good to reduce risks of cancer, heart disease, and inflammation.”]berries[/st_tooltip] (fresh blueberries, fresh raspberries or you can tried dried goji berries). Berries are loaded with antioxidants that help memory and immunity as well as circulation and bone building.
- Add nuts and seeds (slivered almonds, [st_tooltip type=”top” tooltip_text=”HEALTHY FACTS: Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium which is good for immunity and thyroid function. But you only need a couple of brazil nuts a day (1-4). Too many will give you too much of this helpful mineral.”]brazil nuts[/st_tooltip], pumpkin seeds, etc). These foods add a lot of fibre and good fat to your meal which are important for growth and learning. They also add vitamins such as zinc and selenium to your meal
- Add hemp seeds for protein in your breakfast
If you’re making a rice dish for lunch or dinner:
- Add green peas, spinach or carrots – these have many nutrients such as iron, and it’s an easy addition to an easy dish. Even frozen veggies can add some nutrients to your rice, more is better!
- Add [st_tooltip type=”top” tooltip_text=”HEALTHY FACTS: Quinoa is a good source of protein, fiber and a variety of minerals such as manganese, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc”]quinoa[/st_tooltip] to your rice (or substitute quinoa for rice entirely). If you add some to your rice, you can maintain that fluffiness that your kids love but then add a whole bunch of nutrients and protein to your meal.
Pasta is often a go-to meal for busy families on the run:
- Add veggies to your pasta and then you may eat less pasta by crowding out the pasta and adding more veggies. If your kids don’t like their veggies in the pasta, you can blend them into the sauce for an extra boost of nutrients.
- Or you can add a soup or salad to the meal before you eat the pasta to ensure that you first get the good stuff into your body.
- You can add sesame seeds or [st_tooltip type=”top” tooltip_text=”HEALTHY FACTS: Microgreens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs. They tend to contain a higher concentration of many nutrients than the mature, fully grown vegetables or herbs that they come from.”]microgreens[/st_tooltip] to the top of your pasta which would add again more nutrients to an otherwise plain meal.
We tend to always eat the same foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your body has so many biochemical processes and reactions that require different nutrients and vitamins. If you eat the same things every day then your body may be missing out on vital ingredients needed for metabolism and your kids may be missing building blocks they need for growth.
- If you’re making your pasta (with veggies, see above!) you can use different noodles such as chickpea noodles, kale and pea noodles, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash.
- You can add microgreens, or sprouts, to the pasta for a fresh and crunchy taste and a bunch of nutrients
- There are so many veggies beyond just cucumbers and carrots.
- Maybe try cooking long squash, bok choy or [st_tooltip type=”top” tooltip_text=”HEALTHY FACTS: Oka, also called ladies fingers, improves digestion and has antioxidants that help with vision.”]okra[/st_tooltip] . Okra need to be cooked a certain way to remove the slime that comes from handling them, but if you have kids who like to be grossed out, they may embrace the slime!
- You can also try parsnips, turnips. When was the last time you cooked with asparagus or artichoke or leek? Soups are a great way to add other veggies and then send them to school with a thermos container so they can stay warm.
- Great way to add a whole bunch of variety in nutrients into your body in a quick and easy way. There are so many recipes that make them super delicious too!
Sometimes making healthy meals for your little ones seems daunting, but often small changes can make a big impact. Help your kids grow, focus and concentrate by adding a variety of nutrients to their day.
Remember to eat your meals this way too!