Foods to Help Keep Kids Energized and Focused at School

Schools are back in session. Busy parents don’t need any more complication to get through the school year. So I found some cool healthy snacks and lunch ideas for the kiddies! We all know the kids still want flavor while you want some cost-effective and healthy for them.  Together we can find a great solution satisfying both parents and kids. Simple and easy are keys to success.

My latest segments on ABC News Channel 8 “Let’s Talk Live” and NBC’s WBAL TV 11 in Baltimore reveal tips and recipe ideas for school lunches, at-home snacks, and dinner ideas that give them high marks throughout the day because they are fueled, focused and sharp.

A simple way to get your kids and family to eat healthier and snack smarter is to start with familiar foods and add in nutrition wherever you can. I have lots of ideas below. Most importantly in the midst of your busy week, take time to eat together. Families who eat together are happier and healthier.

Diclosure: I worked with KIND snacks, Lil’ Critters, Walmart, Turbana, Pirate’s Booty and Nature Box on these TV segments. I did not receive compensation for mentioning Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.

Start your day with a balanced breakfast!

KIND Grains

Brain foods are all the rage and a great way to fuel your school kids. For a balanced breakfast try making a parfait with granola from KIND “healthy grains,” with plain Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. This meal will provide the balanced of lean protein, whole grains and fruit.

Why KIND? Because it’s packed with super foods like chia and flax seeds to boost super brainpower! For gluten-free kids, no worries needed when trying this parfait-on-the-go recipe with a dose of KINDness. Better yet you get about half your daily whole grain needs with each KIND serving. What a bonus!

Ask your grocer to carry KIND if you don’t see it on the shelves. Check out #KINDawesome inspirations on Twitter

Cover Your Bases with a Delicious Gummy Vitamin

Moms I talk to like having a peace of mind that no matter what the crazy day brings, their kids are getting what they need. Not all multivitamins are created equal. Click to visit websiteL’il Critters GummyVites have naturally sourced flavors and colors and are made in the USA. That’s important to me in making a recommendation.

Plus with a L’il Critters multivitamin and multimineral complete supplement, no water is needed. It’s super convenient and easy to take.
Learn more about L’il Critters on their website.

Shop Walmart for Fresh In-Season Produce at Incredible Prices

I got some amazing produce on my recent trip to Walmart and I used it to make a superfood tuna salad and fresh fruit for the lunch box. walmart-wbal

Get your power brain sandwich filled with omega-3 rich tuna. To increase protein and decrease fat, swap out the mayo for hummus when making your tuna on whole grain bread. You will be surprised how tasty and nutritious this sandwich upgrade will be.

I always find a way to pack veggies into a whole wheat tuna sandwich. Chopped spinach, celery, diced cherry tomatoes, and avocado make for a nice addition in your reinvented meal. For low prices, check out your local Walmart.

Fruit skewers are an easy and fun idea for lunch or an after-school snack. tame your inner sweet tooth. Try strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, and bananas on the skewers. Blend 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt with 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter for a delicious and nutritious dip.

Follow all the chatter on Twitter with Walmart at #WMTfresh

Try a Twist on Your Banana, It’s A-Peel-Ing

I couldn’t help myself :)

Have you heard of “baby bananas”? For a perfect kid-size fruit snack I found the baby bananas to be the best choice. The TurbanaManzano Bananas baby bananas are a third the size of a regular banana. Pop two into their lunch bag and for after school. You can tell they are ripe with their golden yellowish skin and they are the sweetest when brown spotting is visible.

Also try manzanos, which taste like a cross between an apple and a banana. How cool is that? Keep up with Turbana on Twitter! They have some cool hashes #LoveYourselfABunch – for the choices you make and #LoveYouBunches – for gratitude for a shared commitment to social good. (More or Turbana’s social good below).

A Crunchy, Healthier Alternative for the Lunch Box

Pirates Booty

Instead of greasy chips, pack a healthier snack option—Pirate’s Booty. Whether you are packing lunch for your kids or yourself, this baked, all-natural snack has half the fat and fewer calories than regular fried chips. And it’s delicious!!!

With only 65 calories in each half ounce bag, Pirate’s Booty is win for any lunchbox. Plus for it’s safe for kids with common food allergies like tree nut, gluten or peanut allergies. Everything in moderation is the name of the game and I’m a huge fan of

Move More Veggies to School Lunches

saladbars2schools_2

Did you have a salad bar in school? First Lady Michelle Obama is reviving the bar nostalgia with some public support. The First Lady kicked off “Let’s Move Salad Bars 2 Schools.”

This public-private initiative increases children’s fruit and vegetable intake at lunch time with salad bars to meet NEW nutrition standards. With salad bars, kids get exposure to a variety of foods, they can try new fruits and veggies and choose their favorites.

Right now in the District of Columbia, 95 schools are waiting for salad bars. That’s why partners like Turbana are so important. With their US initiatives, Turbana is donating salad bars through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. Learn how you can support your school district.

So far more than 2500 salad bars have been donated, but we have a long way to go.

Simplifying Snacks Front Door Delivery

When the kids get home for school, ready-to-eat snacks can be a nutritious bridge to curb hunger between meals. That’s why I really love Nature Box, which has over 120 nutritionist approved snack choices delivered to your door starting $19.95 a month. You can pick everything from dried fruits, trail mixes, flavored seeds and nuts, Pistachio Power Clusters to Masa Crisps just to name a few.NatureBox_snacks_and_box

Made from wholesome ingredients, which are minimally processed, the snacks have no high fructose corn syrup, no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors!

NatureBox is available in three box sizes: Deluxe, Family and Smart Snacker options. Among the three box sizes, I find the Family Snacker as a real winner for the average family which includes 10 full-sized bags.

Check out all their goodies on the website. I personally love the dried pineapple! MMMmmm…

Dinner Surprise – Something Different, Healthy and Quick

yucca-peeledAre you ready for new foodie adventure for your kids? Then take them on a trip to the local Latin market or the ethnic foods section of your favorite store. There you can discover a new world of side dishes to upgrade your everyday meals.

For instance, instead of the traditional potato, pick up Turbana Latin American roots like yucca or eddoes. You can use them in any recipe that calls for potatoes. Or try them Peruvian style. Done in 20 minutes, boil them and add a sauce of olive oil, garlic, onion, lime juice and cumin. Check out the recipe. Take “short cuts” for the rest of the meal. You can do a quick side salad or green veggie and for the protein, think about already cooked shrimp you can warm up or even a rotisserie chicken from the store.  turbana_laptops

You can feel good about supporting Turbana with your dollar. For 40 years, Turbana has been supporting community projects in its growing regions in Columbia. Turbana gives back to the community by funding laptops to children in need through their One Laptop Per Child to donate computers to less privileged children.               

Disclosure: I worked with Wal-Mart, KIND, Pirate’s Booty, Tubrana, and Gummy Vites for the TV segment, but did not receive compensation for writing this blog post or for mentioning Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.

 

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