By now you and your children should be in the routine of being back in school. This is the perfect time to re-evaluate your family's meals. Ask yourself, "How will we make time to eat together as a family now that school is back in session?" and "are my family's meals nutritionally balanced or could they use some tweaking?" Tweaking is often needed considering all the activities that happen in the summer, which include fairs and the not-so-healthy fair foods, summer vacations, which often require eating out, and children's lunches that are often baby-sitter friendly, easy-to-put-together, but processed foods. Maybe it's time to get back on track and make healthy food choices.
- Make sure to buy plenty of fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables often get lost in our diets, but they should take up half of our plate. If you are not able to keep a good amount of fresh produce on hand, supplement with canned or frozen. If packing your child's lunch, don't forget to always pack at least one fruit or vegetable. Also, include healthy grains, especially whole grains. Buy whole wheat bread, tortillas, or English muffins to make a sandwich, and fill it with a lean protein, such as turkey, ham, roast beef, or chicken. Top with veggies such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, or peppers. Add low-fat cheese, yogurt, or a carton of milk to include dairy. You've just included all five food groups!
- Make time for breakfast. It truly is the most important meal of the day, especially for school-aged children. Breakfast supplies energy that both the brain and the body need for learning and daily activities. Buy whole grain cereals and top with yogurt and a sliced banana. Try peanut butter on whole wheat toast, or blend a breakfast smoothie made with milk, fruit, and a teaspoon of bran.
- Eat together. It may seem like an impossible task to eat supper together as a family when the children are involved in after-school activities. However, with a little planning it can be done. Pick a day to review the weeks schedules of plans, arrange transportation if needed, and pick a time and place of where dinner can be eaten. Hopefully, you'll have time to prepare and eat the meal at home. You can do this by pre-measuring or pre-cutting the night before or by using the slow cooker so that the meal will be ready at the time you plan. If there is no time to eat at home, consider packing a meal to eat at the event. This is usually more nutritious and less expensive than eating out.
The new school year offers a new schedule and routine. Make your routine a healthy one by including nutritious meals and a family friendly atmosphere.
Avocado & White Bean Wrap Printable PDF
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon canola oil
? teaspoon salt
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrot, shredded
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 avocado, ripe
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons red onion, minced
4 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
Whisk vinegar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro and toss to combine. In another medium bowl, mash beans and avocado with a potato masher or fork. Stir in the cheese and onion. Spread about ½ cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto tortilla and top with about ? cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up and repeat with remaining tortillas.
Yield: 4 servings, 1 wrap each
Nutrition analysis per wrap: 410 calories, 16 grams fat, 450 milligrams sodium, 53 grams carbohydrate, 14 grams fiber, 17 grams protein