By: Meaghan Edwards MS, RD/LDRegistered Dietitian
August is Kid’s Eat Right month for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. With that being said, I felt like it would be a good time to discuss keeping your kids healthy when they are back to school and you feel like you have even less time in the mornings and after work.
Packing lunches the night before will save you a lot of time in the morning. Make things that are easy to store in the fridge and that you can throw in their lunch boxes in the morning such as a sandwich on whole wheat bread (make it fun by cutting their sandwich into fun shapes with cookie cutters), sandwich wraps, leftovers from the night before, chicken salad, tuna salad, etc. When choosing sides to pair with their lunches, try to keep it away from chips and give them fresh fruits and veggies. You can even make homemade granola bars on the weekend. These are something that the kids could help make and get involved in their lunch making. Try your best not use pre-packaged meals for your kid’s lunches to avoid high sodium and preservatives.
By packing the lunches the night before, you will have more time to focus on the meal at hand, breakfast! Keep low sugar cereals around for an easy, running late choice. You can also have yogurts, fruits, and nuts to choose from if you do not have time to prepare a meal. You can also prepare breakfast choices in advance by making mini omelets in a cupcake pan, hard boiled eggs, and overnight oatmeal in mason jars.
When the kids get home from school, get them involved in preparing their snacks and meals for the next day. This will help limit screen time, give them say in their food choices, and also teach them how to plan and cook at home. Try to limit their screen time to 2 hours per day and get them active by encouraging outside activities and giving them responsibilities around the house. Encourage them to also get involved in sports and run around with their neighborhood friends.
Planning is key when time is limited so start today! The more you plan, the easier your life will be throughout the week.