Start the school year off right! We've compiled five easy tips for the back-to-school transition. Follow our advice and your child will be at the head of the class!
1. Gradually Decrease the Use of Processed Foods
Kids like hand-held foods such as roll-ups made with whole wheat flatbreads, mini-pitas stuffed with tuna salad or hummus; ham or turkey along with lettuce, mini-bagels spread with peanut butter and honey.
At dinner, think about tomorrow’s lunch. Slice roasted or grilled meats into strips that will be used in sandwiches or for dipping along with veggie strips. When shopping, let your children choose their favorite flavor sauces, including peanut, barbecue, sweet and sour and spicy sauces.
Mexican cuisine is always a hit. Pack triangle wedges of the cheese or chicken quesadilla from last night’s dinner. Include organic tortilla chips and your child’s favorite salsa.
2. Make Cereal Snack Bars from Scratch
Let the kids help you make one of the best ever healthy-recipe snack bars: Low Fat Chewy Fruit and Oatmeal Bars from Quaker Oats. (recipe follows article - click to view)
Too busy for this? Nature Valley Granola Bars are a healthy alternative – the first ingredient is whole grain rolled oats and the protein source is plant-based soy.
3. Keep Heinen's Fresh Ground Peanut Butter (all peanuts, nothing else!) on Hand
Talk about a ready-when-you-are dip for carrot or celery sticks, apple slices and mini-pretzels! Our peanut butter also makes a super breakfast spread on a Heinen's Sprouted Grain Bagel.
4. Make Room for Frozen Fruit in that Freezer
Grapes To Go: Freeze grapes without stems on a cookie sheet first; once frozen, place in a freezer bag. These sweet treats are a real winner for after-school snacking.
Split Bananas: Cut a frozen banana lengthwise or into slices and add crushed peanuts, raisins and a bit of chocolate syrup. Great—even without the ice cream!
Icy Fruit Cubes: Dice up seasonal fruits like apricots, peaches or mangoes and freeze for yummy mid-day snacking.
5. Maximize the Impact of Those Pre-Sport Snacks
Two things to know here: It's not only about what the snack is, it's when your child athlete consumes it. Muscles need fueling and the timing of that is important. Use these tips to keep your star healthy on and off the field.
Two to three hours before practice or game time, student athletes should consume foods that are primarily carbohydrate, such as:
- Cereal bar, sports bar or trail mixes
- Dry cereal
- Fig Newtons or graham crackers and a piece of fruit
- Whole or half PB and J sandwich with a box of raisins or dried fruit
- Wheat crackers and peanut butter
- Yogurt and apple
One hour before practice or game time, avoid simple carbohydrate foods because these foods will raise blood sugars too quickly and result in a drop in blood sugar right before an event.
To help prevent this, adding a bit of fiber, protein or fat in small quantities (to avoid stomach upset) is ideal. Some good options:
- 2 mini-bagels with one slice 2% fat American cheese
- 1 tortilla smeared with peanut butter, chunks of apples, raisins and cinnamon, rolled
- Mix of soy nuts and dried fruit
- Part-skim mozzarella string cheese and favorite dried fruits
- 8 oz low fat yogurt mixed with fresh fruit or low-fat granola cereal
Finally, don't forget the water. Good hydration is key to peak performance!
Low Fat Chewy Fruit & Oatmeal Bars
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
One 8-ounce container vanilla or plain low-fat yogurt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. skim milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup diced dried mixed fruit, raisins, or dried cranberries
Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine sugars, yogurt, egg whites, oil, milk, and vanilla; mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Add to yogurt mixture; mix well. Stir in oats and fruit.
Spread dough onto bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan.
Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered.
Servings: 2 dozen bars. Each bar contains 0.5g oat soluble fiber.
Source: Quaker Oats
Download Recipe (.pdf)