Summer is coming to an end and kids are about to get back into the swing of school. Now is the time to take a closer look at what kind of fuel they are starting each day with. The type and variety of foods that children eat can affect their academic and physical performance, mood, behavior, and overall well-being. The bottom line is children need good, healthy food in order to perform at their best. Chicago Healers Practitioner Tiffany Triner, Assistant Nutritionist at Nutrition Connection Balance, LLC offers these great guidelines to better fuel kids:
Foods to avoid
Think twice about giving your children foods with labels listing food additives, colors, preservatives, or chemical names you can’t pronounce. Also to be excluded:
- Artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup
- Genetically modified foods
- Trans fat and hydrogenated fat
- Fruit juice from concentrate
- White and/or bleached flour products.
- Roasted or sugar coated nuts
Healthier options – getting back to basics
Think real food! Start offering your kids whole fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, grains and unprocessed meats. Choose foods that have not been altered from their natural state. Whether your child is 2, 12, or 22 it is never too late to change the way you think about food. Here are some healthy lunch and after-school snack choices for your family that offer flavor and variety along with nutritional benefits.
- Turkey roll up: A whole grain, rice, or corn pita, no nitrate lunch meat, lettuce or other leafy green, sliced tomato and hummus or whipped avocado as a pita dressing.
- Almond butter sandwich:
- 2 pieces of whole grain, sprouted grain, or gluten free bread
- 1-2 Tablespoons of raw almond butter
- ½ cup of mashed fresh berries or an all natural/low sugar fruit preserve
- A piece of fruit or vegetable slices with raw or natural nut butter
- Trail mix: mixture of raw nuts and dried raisins, cranberries and pineapple
- Mixed berries
- Rice crackers and all-natural nut butter
- Veggie bag: snow peas, green beans, carrots
- Fruit leather, dried fruit slices, or fresh fruit
- Greek yogurt and dehydrated veggie chips
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