However, parents are often stumped when it comes to providing their kids with nutritious meals and snacks.
Nutritionist Robin Foroutan understands. "Getting kids to eat healthfully during the school year can be daunting," she says, "especially in an environment where soda and tater tots prevail. Concentrating on balanced meals that combine fruit, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats will provide the fuel kids need to power through the school day and provide the nutrients to keep them healthy. By finding quick and nutritious solutions in the kitchen, both you and your kids will make it through the school year on top."
Parents sick of making the same old sandwiches day after day should try these tips for serving their kids quick and nutritious meals and snacks.
Did you run out of bread? Pack whole-wheat crackers along with lean turkey, thin apple slices and low-fat cheese. Your kids will love making miniature sandwiches and you won't need to make an extra trip to the store.
A favorite dinner can double as a favorite hot lunch. Does your child look forward to taco night all week, or beg you to make spaghetti all the time? Then make an extra portion of their favorite meals and pack them as lunch the next day. Your kids will be thrilled to eat their favorite meals again, and you'll have extra time in the morning. Make sure to reheat the meal in the morning and pack it in a thermos to keep it warm for lunchtime.
Serve your child low-fat yogurt topped with fresh fruit, nuts and granola. Voila! You've created a yogurt parfait in under five minutes!
Kids love to dip. Chop up a few ingredients, pour the dip into a bowl and you've provided a nutritious snack without breaking a sweat. Try cucumbers, broccoli and sweet bell peppers dipped in low-fat dressing; cubes of turkey and low-fat cheese dipped in warm pasta sauce; or carrots, celery and whole-wheat pita bread dipped in hummus.
Let your kids be chef for a night. Toast a whole-wheat bagel topped with pasta sauce and low-fat cheese and offer diced vegetables and cubed lean chicken as toppings. They'll have so much fun making their own pizza, they won't realize that they're eating nutritious food.
Don't forget about the crockpot. Throw some lean chicken, veggies, pasta sauce and spices into a crockpot before you leave in the morning. You can pick up the dry cleaning, cart the kids to soccer practice and come home to a piping hot meal that smells like you slaved over it for hours.
For more recipes and tips, pick up a free copy of the Ragu Soccer Moms Shortcuts book, available at www.ragu.com.
- Courtesy of ARA Content