By: Lilli Rozanski, MS, RDN, LDN, Sports and Fitness Dietitian, Thibodaux
Regional Health System
School is here - time to fall back into a daily routine! Mornings may become
a tad hectic this season with alarms going off, getting breakfast ready,
packing lunches, finishing homework, carpools, and a new one – remembering
to bring masks. Some days you may think, “How can I possibly prepare
a nutritious and delicious lunch during these busy mornings?” Have
no fear. … there is a way. Below are a few tips on how to help
minimize the stress and maximize your morning time to give you and your
loved ones a healthy start.
Start with breakfast!
Breakfast is an essential part of everyone’s day. It is exactly what
it means – it is breaking the fast from the night before. Eating
breakfast will help you and your kids balance blood sugars, keep you full
throughout the day, and help you focus. Research has shown that eating
breakfast results in healthier body weights. Studies also suggest that
eating breakfast is associated with improved memory, better test grades,
greater school attendance and better behavior. Children who don’t
eat breakfast may feel tired and have trouble concentrating.
Shop for breakfast essentials like eggs, fruit, low-fat milk and yogurt,
cereal, whole-grain bread and granola bars. For a quick and healthy breakfast
enjoy cereal (with less than 10 grams sugar/serving), low-fat milk, banana
and yogurt. Pairing a carbohydrate and protein together helps create a
balanced breakfast to keep you full throughout the morning.
Packing a Healthy Lunch
Lunch is a perfect opportunity to help your child develop healthy meal
planning skills for life. Guide your child in choosing from a variety
of healthy lunch options. Try packing lunch at night and store in a certain
spot in the refrigerator so you can grab and go in the morning. Prep meals
and chop veggies on the days when you are least busy. Having foods all
ready to go will make cooking a lot quicker. Kids are more likely to choose
fruits and veggies if they are already cut up and ready to eat. Placing
nutritious snacks in plain sight makes everyone more likely to pick them
up. A simple checklist will help make sure everything they need is packed:
1 fresh fruit. For example: grapes, apple slices or rings, any melon chunks (cantaloupe,
honeydew, watermelon), any berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries),
or banana slices
1-2 vegetables. For example: carrot coins or sticks, cucumber, broccoli, bell pepper strips,
asparagus spears, summer squash ribbons, or grape tomatoes
1 protein. For example: Beans, edamame, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, hummus, veggie
burger, roasted turkey or chicken slices, or a hardboiled egg
1 whole grain. For example: whole grain pasta, bread, and crackers, brown rice, quinoa,
steel-cut oats, and other minimally-processed whole grains
Healthy Lunch Examples
- Whole wheat tortilla spread with tomato paste, topped with ¼ cup
of shredded mozzarella cheese and baby spinach leaves. Roll and slice
into pieces. Serve with bell pepper sticks, 2 tablespoons of hummus and grapes.
Turkey Pretzel Wrap
- Two to three ounces of turkey pieces, avocado slices, and pretzel sticks
in a whole wheat wrap. Serve with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons
of low-fat ranch dressing for dipping and 1 small apple.
Mexican Chicken Pita
- Whole wheat pita filled with 2 to 3 ounces of chicken pieces (grilled or
baked), lettuce, 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese and salsa. Serve
with a low-fat yogurt and orange slices.
For more information or to schedule a nutrition consultation with a registered
dietitian, contact Thibodaux Regional Health System at 985-493-4765.