Friday July 18, 2014
Fuel for the Mind and Body
By LeAnne Anderson, RDN, LD
Brookshire Brothers Health Living Advisor
Those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer are coming to an end! The demands of a new school year, fall activities, and sports require a sharp mind and a healthy body—from preschoolers to parents! Nutritious foods provide the fuel we need to think, move, and learn as well as for growth and development. Make sure you and your family get the nutrition they need by using our tips for quick and healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.
BREAKFAST — THE most important meal of the day! Studies show that eating a breakfast that includes whole grains/ fruit, protein, and/or dairy, improves academic and sports performance.
- Whole-grain English Muffin with melted low-fat cheese, Fresh or canned fruit, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice
- Low-sugar Cereal top with frozen blueberries and low-fat milk
- Sugar-Free Instant Breakfast mixed with low-fat milk, whole grain bread or toast with peanut or almond butter.
SNACKS — Replenish and maintain fuel levels before homework or sports/activities with snacks that provide carbohydrate and protein.
- String cheese or low-fat cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, apple slices or grapes
- Fruit kabobs dipped in yogurt – thread fruit pieces (strawberries, melon, pineapple, kiwi) onto a thin straw or skewer.
- Finger food veggies (baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, broccoli) dipped in hummus or ranch-style dressing.
- Trail Mix: Toss dry lower-sugar cereal, nuts, dried fruit (craisins, apples, etc), pretzels and a few chocolate chips. Portion into snack bags.
LUNCH — Fuel up for those afternoon classes and tests!
- Tortilla roll ups: whole-wheat tortilla + ham or turkey + shredded cheese, serve with cherry tomatoes, whole grain chips (ex: Sun Chips or MultiGrain Tostitos), 100% Fruit Juice.
- Pasta salad (make day or two before) with cooked pasta, cut up chicken or turkey, shredded carrot, green peas and Italian dressing. Serve with whole-grain crackers, and an apple or pear.
- Pita Pocket: Fill pita with grilled chicken strips, thin sliced bell pepper and lettuce. Add salad dressing of choice at lunch time. Serve with yogurt or a sugar-free pudding cup.
GRAB AND GO! For days that are full of non-stop activity, have on-the-go breakfasts and snacks prepped ahead of time to grab on the way out the door. Not only more nutritious, this saves time AND money when you by-pass the drive thru!
- Wash, cut up and bag fruit and vegetables into snack or sandwich-size snack bags. Buy individually packaged Ranch Dip and Peanut Butter for dipping or spoon into mini “Zip Lock” cups with lids.
- Purchase string cheese or other individually packaged cheese.
- Package bulk whole grain crackers (ex: Wheat Thins, Triscuit), pretzels, cereal, etc. in snack bags or buy individual packs.
- Have plastic spoons available for cups of fruit, yogurt, pudding, etc.
- Stock up on disposable cups for a bowl of cereal on the go or an Instant Breakfast Drink.
- Designate an easy-to-reach shelf or drawer in both the refrigerator and pantry for beverages and the items listed above.
- Keep a bowl of whole fruit such as apples, bananas, pears, oranges in a visible spot.
STAY FLUID (FILL UP ON FLUIDS) — Not drinking enough fluid can also affect performance. We need fluid to control body temperature and to remove waste products.
- Beverages of choice are water, low-fat milk and 100% Fruit Juice.
- Water is the best option, especially between meals and during physical activity.
- Kids should drink 48 oz. of water each day (six cups) plus an additional cup for each hour of activity.
- Diluted sports drinks are a good choice if activities last more than an hour or during hot temperatures.
SAFETY FIRST — Perishable foods should be kept cool until they are eaten. Use an insulated lunch bag and pack food with reusable ice blocks. Or, freeze a juice box or water bottle and add it to the lunch bag. It will keep foods cold but thawed enough to drink by lunch time. Check out a kitchen/home store for new types of lunch bags that can be frozen before packing as well as the “bento box”- type lunch containers
Need more ideas and tips? Check out the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website
http://www.eatright.org/kids/ for more information
CATEGORIES: Healthy Living