Plan ahead for back to school success


For too many American families, back to school means back to junk food. We know our kids need breakfast so it’s easy to cave in to kids’ demands for that heinous sugar cereal or toaster pastry. If kids eat hot lunch at school, they often eat more treats than real food. And, when school activities dominate the calendar, it’s way too easy to fall into the temptations of the fast food drive.

Often, parents succumb to feeding their kids fast food and junk food because there’s nothing healthy on hand or in the fridge. If you take just a little bit of time, you can quickly reach back to school success. Make a list of healthy breakfast, lunch and snack items that your child will eat and stock your pantry accordingly.

A quick breakfast shake (yogurt, frozen fruit, a little milk and a touch of honey) is one easy breakfast solution. Cook up a pound of MSG-free breakfast links, refrigerate and microwave a couple in the mornings–add an egg. They take just seconds to cook.Serve sugar free, whole grain cold cereals or microwave some oatmeal. You can do this with regular oatmeal—you don’t need the expensive, additive-ridden single-serve packages. Or, spread a 100% whole grain bagel with cream cheese.

Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. We all need to eat more of these. As soon as you get home, wash them and, if needed, peel and slice. Bring whole fruit or baggies of carrots, celery and green pepper with you when you go to pick the kids up. Keep them on the table for munching. Serve them alongside meals.

Instead of chips and cookies, stock up on nuts, seeds, 100% whole grain cracker snacks. Don’t forget the cheese and peanut butter! Pop some popcorn the old fashioned way–in a pan on the stove where you control the additives.

Plan healthy dinners, too. Put that crock pot to use or cook two portions and keep one for the next day to cut your prep time in half. As you cook dinner, relax. God blesses the simple act of preparing healthy food to bring solace to the soul as well as health to the body. A little bit of planning goes a long way toward a healthier and less hectic school year, especially when you start with a sensible and easy system.

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