Back to school means back to packing lunches, after school snacks and for college students, keeping away from the freshman fifteen. Who else would be better to give nutritional advise but the registered dietitians at GIANT Food Stores! They had great tips on keeping you, your kids and you college student healthier for back to school.
Back To School Nutrition Tips
Plan and balance
With school and after school activities, parents can ensure their families are eating well and getting the nutrients needed every day with meal planning. Be sure to read through all my ideas on Healthy Back To School Lunches
- Set a day/time every week for time-saving meal planning: Plan out all meals for the week before you go grocery shopping, take stock of what items you already have on hand and make a list of what you need. GIANT Savory, Fast, Fresh and Easy magazine and digital platform is introducing Savory Sunday on
Aug. 21– easy meal ideas you can prepare in one day and enjoy the rest of the week.
- Start every day with a balanced breakfast: Help curb hunger later in the day with a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana, a hardboiled egg with a piece of fruit, an English muffin with almond butter and sliced peaches or overnight oats.
- Try these breakfast recipes:
- Prep lunch ahead: For simple lunchtime salads, wash and cut veggies in bulk ahead of time or buy salad kits for easy assembly and save lean protein from dinners to top your salad.
- Have the kids choose: Last year I created a printable that would help the kids choose what they wanted in their lunch boxes. It was awesome because they got to choose one item from each box and I got to give them the options. Winning for everyone!
Food groups for kids
Incorporating three to five food groups in your kids’ meals and at least two groups in snacks can provide needed nutrition and energy to help them stay fuller longer, keeping them focused and energized at school.
- Power up breakfast with protein: Eggs, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, or cheese are all good choices.
- Create a bento box: When packing lunches, use a bento lunch box. A bento box contains multiple compartments and will help you include as many food groups as possible. Put grapes in one section, sliced cucumber and a spoonful of hummus in the second section, turkey and cheese roll ups in the third section
and whole grain crackers in the fourth – creating a balanced, satisfying lunch.
- Have fun and create a snack station: Clear a pantry shelf and fill with healthy snacks like low-sugar granola bars, cereal, dried fruit, nuts/seeds, dry roasted chickpeas, popcorn and whole grain crackers. Keep fruits, veggies, yogurt and string cheese on hand in the fridge too for kids to easily grab when hunger strikes.
Check out this super simple recipe for make your own trail mix. If you are fast you can make it in under two minutes!
Fight the “Freshman 15”
College can be a time of crazy schedules, increased stress and tight budgets which can cause some students to gain weight their first year. Take a few minutes each day to focus on healthier balanced choices to improve your energy level, mood and academic performance. As my mom said to me, ‘Never forget how good a fresh piece of fruit tastes.’ She was right! With all the food options that are available in the cafeteria and vending machines on campus, nothing tastes as good as a ripe piece of fruit.
Another option Giant offers are FREE appointments with one of their registered dietitians. The appointment has 0 out of pocket expense and no insurance is needed! I am sure they would love to talk with your college kid when they are home for the holiday about avoiding, or undoing the ‘Freshman 15’.
- Plan meals around lean protein: Some inexpensive choices are eggs, beans, natural peanut or sunflower seed butter, cheese or tuna. Also include vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and dairy.
- Make a snack: If you don’t have time for a meal break in between classes, grab an apple and cheese stick, tuna on cucumber slices, natural peanut butter on celery, hummus and baby carrots, or a nutrition bar.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Adequate sleep, for most seven to nine hours per night, recharges your brain, might reduce your stress, improve your concentration, and even keep your weight in check.