Tips for a Healthy School Year
Obesity continues to plague many school-aged children in Syracuse and across the country. With children participating in more sporting and extracurricular activities, in addition to homework, packaged foods and fast foods make their way onto children’s plates more often than they should.
While national weight management campaigns are hoping to make strides in the national obesity epidemic, parents should arm themselves with a few quick and easy weight management tips for healthy snacks and meals that their children can enjoy during the school year.
- Smoothies. We hear time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For many busy families the combination of early morning bus stops and the rush against the clock to leave for work leaves sugar-filled toaster pastries as the best bet for this morning meal. Instead of starting the day with a load of processed sugars, try providing your child with a nutrient-packed protein and fruit smoothie that takes seconds to whip up. This healthy alternative will leave your child feeling focused and energized until lunch. They’re also a great part of a weight loss program. Fruit, yogurt, vegetables, low-fat milk, and protein powders are all super-nutritious ingredients to add to your child’s smoothie. Smoothies can be made the night before if mornings are especially rushed.
- Sandwiches. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread makes for a healthy lunch. But don’t wait until the morning to make a “PB & J” sandwich. Instead, make a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Sunday evening and throw them into the freezer. In the morning, toss them in your child’s lunch bag. By lunch time, the sandwich will be thawed and ready to eat.
- Salads. Think chicken and tuna salad — or even tofu salad. These spreads are delicious on multi-grain crackers, whole-grain bread or alone. Cut up some crunchy vegetables, along with some portion-controlled, low-fat dressing for a great addition to any child’s weight loss program.
- Snacks. Refrain from throwing in potato chips or sugar-filled snacks into your child’s lunch box, which may give them quick energy, followed by an afternoon crash. Instead, opt for trail mix (homemade preferred) which consists of nuts, dried fruits, yogurt pieces, and whole-grain cereal. Trail mix will provide a longer lasting energy than those sugary or carbohydrate-laden processed snacks.