School is here and to some of us, that brings the stress of having to think up creative lunch ideas for our sweet kiddos. This can be such a challenge! Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind has got you covered! No matter if your child is starting kindergarten, or a rising senior, Sara has tips that will help you get them fueled and focused for their day ahead. Here are a few tips from Sara to help you get through the back to school season.
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stress About Back to School Lunches
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Focus on fresh fruit, purified water, protein, and fiber while kids are in the comfort of their home. Fuel them up with a simple smoothie that is quick to make and satisfies their nutrient needs. I like blending yogurt, banana, strawberries, milk, baby spinach and touch of honey. If smoothies aren’t their thing, try a snack plate with cut up cheese, berries, wholegrain crackers or bread. This wakes their bodies and brains up in a healthy way and will sustain them for the long day ahead.
Who Say’s Leftovers Are a No No?
Whole grain pancakes for lunch? If it’s good enough for breakfast, why not use it for lunch? Many times, kids don’t finish their breakfast. Instead of trashing it, let’s wrap it up with a little fresh fruit and cut up veggies and send it for school lunch. Not only is this easy, but less wasteful. I even recommended sending in leftovers from their favorite dinner. Make sure to cook enough so you have extra to eat twice. Soups are also an easy, healthy option that can be made ahead of time and packed in a thermos for school. Be creative and use what you have. It can save you money and time.
Pack Easy, Simple Foods That You Know Your Kids Like and In Small Portions
Don’t feel bad with packing “the usual”- cheese sticks, apples, crackers, and yogurt. Choose healthy versions. Kids will enjoy them, and you'll like the ease of tossing something familiar into a lunch bag that also provides energizing nutrients. I also love packing a small, low-sugar snack bar. Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites is one of our family’s favorites! They are perfectly portioned and loaded with pistachios, cranberries, protein, fiber and antioxidants. Not to mention they taste amazing too.
Kids Have Voices Too! Ask Them What They Want
Instead of trying to be the food detective, sit down with your kids and ask them what they want for school lunch. It doesn’t have to be perfect or gourmet. The key is to make sure they eat something nutritious that they also enjoy. Junk food is unacceptable; however we are fortunate these days, there are so many cookie and chip options that have upgraded ingredient lists and are even organic. Supermarkets have aisles designated to organic foods and snacks to make shopping easier. As long as the snack choice is paired with fresh fruit and vegetables and a small portion of protein, there is nothing wrong with a cookie or chip.
Have a Game Plan for Their Return from School
After school is one of the best times to fuel your kids with healthy foods. They come home hungry, really hungry. This is when a little preparation goes a long way. I recommend carving out the time to have a meal ready for them when they walk in the door, or if you are on the road make sure to pack a healthy sandwich or soup for them to eat. Whatever you want to serve for dinner, serve it to them now. I can almost guarantee that your kids will eat their fruit and veggies if they are cut-up and ready on the table. By giving kids a satisfying meal with protein, vegetables and whole grains when they are hungry, it prevents unnecessary snacking and filling up on empty calories until dinner time.
About Pistachio Chewy Bites
With two main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios and cranberries in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. These nutrient-rich snack bars provide a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat for sustainable energy. With 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and healthy fat, the individually wrapped bars are the perfect one stop shop.
Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Bristol Farms, Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc. They are also available online at Amazon.com and Puritan.com.
Pricing: 2-Pack $1.99 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50
About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature "toss it in" approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.
We got to test out the Pistachio Chewy Bites and they are really awesome. Each one is a delicious blend of two of my favorite things: pistachios and cranberries. These nuts and berries are merged together into a mini bar. They are a chewy and delicious combination of salty and sweet that is a mouth watering concoction both kids and adults can enjoy.
Each Pistachio Chewy Bite comes in its own individual package to ensure freshness. This makes them a great snack when you're on the go or to toss in school lunch boxes. In addition to tasting great, they are packed with protein and fiber. Best of all, they are a 100% natural choice, that is gluten free, dairy free, GMO free, and vegan friendly.
Pistachio Chewy bites are available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc. They are also available online at Amazon.com andPuritan.com.
Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50