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Kimberly OlsonFall Back To School – The Healthy Way

By Kimberly Olson, Director of Wellness Programs

Back to school means back to healthy routines. Breakfast, snacks, and a balanced lunch are the keys to getting on track after the freedoms of summer have come to a close. By making some simple changes, you can ensure that you and your family make a smooth transition into fall.

We live such busy lives that often we rush right out the door without providing our family with a nutritious breakfast to start off the day. Our bodies require constant fuel throughout the day, and breakfast kick starts the metabolism into high gear. Whole grain cereal, oatmeal, eggs, or whole wheat toast are all great quick and easy options. Even a high fiber cereal bar on the go can do the trick if you are extremely pressed for time.

It is truly amazing how often children like to eat throughout the day. Not too long after lunch, and they are often asking for a snack! We should model our children in this way, as snacking drastically minimizes our chances of overeating later in the day. Fresh or even dried fruit are great to have on hand in backpacks or desk drawers. Children love trail mix, whole grain pretzels, and flavored rice cakes for a mid-day snack. Keep an eye on portion sizes, making sure it is truly a snack and not an additional meal.

With a long day coming to a close, the last thing we want to do is pack lunches for the next day. However, by skipping this important task, we subject our children to cafeteria food, and ourselves to the nearest fast food restaurant. Preparation is one of the most valuable habits we can get into this fall. Whole grain breads, lean lunch meats, and good-for-you toppings make the top of your grocery list. Include your children in the decision-making process; they will be more likely to eat their packed lunch at school versus trading with their classmates.

A healthy breakfast and lunch, along with tasty snacks, will help you and your children have an enjoyable and productive day-all day, every day.

Source: Townsley, C. (1996). Kid Smart! Raising a Healthy Child. Ohio: Lifestyle for Health Publishing.

Apple Muffins

A tasty muffin that is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 medium apple, grated or chopped
  • ½ cup raisins, goji berries or golden berries
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 ¾ cup oat flour (or whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. Beat eggs and stir in milk, apples, raisins/berries, oil, and honey.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Combine and stir briefly.
  4. Fill oiled or lined muffin tin 2/3 -3/4 full.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Makes about 12 muffins.

Yummy Pizza

A quick pizza with extra veggies. Many kids call it the BEST pizza they ever ate.

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • Fresh spinach, chopped
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Slivered red peppers
  • Chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Sliced onions
  • Organic, low-fat mozzarella cheese, sliced

Directions

  1. Pre-bake the pizza crust at 425 degrees for about 4-5 minutes, preferably on a pizza stone dusted with cornmeal.
  2. Cover the pizza crust with the sauce. Place a layer of chopped spinach on Sprinkle with the remaining veggies.
  3. Place mozzarella cheese on top.
  4. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until done.

Fruit Kabobs

An easy version of a fruit salad that a child can make. A great idea for them to make for their own snack. Keep lots of fruit in the house so they have a big variety for their straws.

Ingredients

  • Good variety of fruit

Directions

  1. Cut fruit into bite size pieces.
  2. Push a straw through the pieces of fruit.
  3. If fruit is too hard, cut a hole with a knife.

Trail Mix 

Most children love trail mix. Let your children make their own.

Ingredients

  • Various dried fruits (i.e., currants, raisins, figs, dates, pineapple chunks, banana chips, dates, etc.)
  • Seeds (i.e., pumpkins, sesame, sunflower, etc.)
  • Nuts (i.e., walnuts, almonds, cashews, chestnuts, etc.)

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.