We have officially ushered in a new school year, and we want to help your children succeed in every class. Prepare your children for the day ahead by packing their lunch full of healthy foods that will give them a sustained energy boost through the rest of the day. Here are some tips for tackling mealtime and some of our favorite snacks.
If you find yourself picking up another pack of single-use sandwich bags at the grocery store every week, stop and think. How much plastic are you putting back into the planet when making your child’s snacks? Find alternatives that are easier on the Earth, and on your pocket. Reusable silicone food storage is popping up everywhere, so pick up a couple pouches. They are made of dishwasher-safe materials that can be cleaned with your dishes and come in multiple sizes. So you can perfectly portion out your child’s carrot sticks and cheesy crackers.
When it comes to wrapping their sandwiches, try Beeswax wraps! You can even make your own at home with wax pellets and spare hand towels. They are durable and keep your child’s lunch fresh until it’s time to enjoy! To clean, use luke-warm water and dish soap. Because of their beeswax exterior, we don’t recommend throwing these in the dishwasher.
Lastly, stop buying single-use plastic water bottles! Keep your child’s water ice-cold all day with a reusable bottle. This will definitely come in handy after an afternoon at recess. Did you know that Americans purchase about 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles per year? This use of plastic averages to about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S.! Save 156 plastic bottles annually by switching to a reusable version.
It’s important to support your child’s growing body and mind, especially while they are ingesting tons of new information at school. Proper nutrition is the best way to start their path to success! According to the Mayo Clinic, you should focus the lion share of your child’s diet on nutrient-dense foods in the five main food groups; protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. And although they are fine in moderation, stay away from things like added sugar and saturated and trans fats. Use this guide to learn how to better divide the lunch you pack to give your child the healthiest options for them.
For more information on the recommended calorie and nutrient intake for your child, click here. It’s important to note that the breakdown of their suggested diet depends on their age, growth pattern and activity. So be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician about their health if you have concerns. What your child needs might be different from that of their peers, feed them healthy snacks that fit their needs.
Spend Time Together
Sometimes you don’t have time to sit down and enjoy breakfast with the family. Early meetings or missed alarms can make your mornings crazy. But try your best to create a daily routine that involves sitting around the table or kitchen counter and setting your intentions for the day. Even if breakfast isn’t the most important meal of your day, it will allow you to reassess your mindset, relax and start your day on the right foot. And don’t worry about providing a bed and breakfast experience, just pull up some bar stools or sit around the kitchen table and enjoy the morning. For more tips to help your child tackle the school year, check out our guide!
Breakfast Done Right
Chia seeds are packed with great nutrients like omega-3’s, fiber and plant-based protein. A modern take on a classic fave, chia pudding is very similar to oatmeal in texture and ability to adapt its flavor to your preferred additions.
Smooth Things Out
If your child does not show much of an appetite early in the morning, try a protein-filled smoothie! It’s refreshing and filled with nutrients that will help kick start their day. Smoothies are also a *cool* way to hide some of the healthy stuff they don’t care for, like spinach or kale. They’ll love the bright green color of their breakfast, without having to eat a salad! Check out this recipe!
Not Your Grandma’s Toast
Try a sweet or savory remix to the favorite breakfast side, or just stick to butter! Adding protein-filled toppings like your favorite nut butter or mashed avocados. You can always experiment with toppings to keep your children interested in a routine breakfast. We personally love adding sesame and chia seeds to the top of our avocado toast for extra crunch, flavor and nutrients.
Remix the Classic Snacks
It seems like every year there are another dozen studies revealing that your favorite snack has hidden ingredients and properties that are harmful to your health. It’s important to stay informed about what you put in your body actually does to your body, so we have some alternatives for you!
What’s Sunflower Butter?
Starting out as an alternative for individuals with nut allergies, sunflower butter has actually shown to be a more sustainable option. This “butter” requires less resources to grow and harvest in comparison to almond and peanut butters. The amount of water needed to grow enough almonds to meet the demand of almond butter, and the deforestation to harvest palm oil for peanut butter is extremely harmful to the planet. Although it might not remind you of childhood PB&J’s, sunflower butter is a better alternative for your health, and the health of the planet.
Find snacks that are delicious and include a shorter ingredients list than their name-brand counterparts. When shopping, always flip the snack box over to read the nutrition facts and ingredients list. Even some “healthy” options have hidden sugar and complex ingredients.
Some children’s yogurts are filled with artificial flavors and additional sugar to give it an even sweeter taste. Look for a snack pack that has lower sugar, like a Greek yogurt option. You can even switch to a dairy-free option!
Even though these are marketed to be full of protein and free of guilt, these snacks are full of fat and sugar that your child doesn’t need in their diet. A rule of thumb when shopping bars for snack time, the chewier the bar, the more sugar in it. Try making your own granola bites to give your child the balanced snack they need. For recipe ideas, click here.
For more healthy snack alternatives, check out this blog post.
Don’t Forget a Note
Don’t just fuel your student’s appetite when they go back to a school routine, but fuel their confidence! Start each week in a happy week with a hand-written note on Monday. This is where you can also flex your parent-grade humor with lunch-related puns. “We think you’re doing grape today!”
A balanced diet is an important way to fuel your child’s day at school. Keep them focused with lunches filled with vitamins, nutrients… and tasty treats. Leave your favorite school lunches or snacks in the comments below. And don’t forget to share your First Day of School photos with using by using #MyAshleyHome on Instagram. You might even see your students on our feed! To discover more ways to support your child’s success, like creating a homework station for study time, browse our pins.