Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Back to School: Back to packing lunches

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Parents will soon be packing lunchboxes as students head to school. Dietician Tarie Beldin said it's important that kids get the proper nutrition to help with their academic performance.

Beldin said planning ahead of time can help like having sliced fruit and vegetables ready to go. Having the time to be creative doesn't hurt either.

"Tortillas and even sliced cheese, if you use those cookie cutters and make it into cute shapes, it's just more likely that your kids are going to want to eat that if it's a fun way to do that," Beldin said.

Beldin also said eating together as a family tends to be more nutritious overall.

Fun & Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

By: Tarie Beldin, RD, LD

The goal is to try and include: protein/grain/fruit or vegetable/dairy. This can be tricky with picky or extremely slow eaters. Also, you know your child’s palate best, some will only eat PB & J and others love goat cheese. Either way, the more you get your child involved in the planning of the meal, the more likely they will be to eat what is packed rather that throwing it in the trash at school.

Sandwich on a Stick
• Cubes of whole wheat bread
• Cubes of cheese
• Cubed Turkey or lean Ham
• Leaf lettuce
• Cherry tomato
• Mini pickle
Make a dip of combining low fat mayonnaise and some yellow mustard.
Serve with apples slices and yogurt

Chicken Noodle Soup
Baked animal chips (using a cookie cutter, cut animal shapes out of a tortilla, spray with cooking spray and season with salt/pepper and parmesan cheese, bake in a 350 degree oven till golden brown)
Orange circles
String cheese

Turkey Wrap
• Whole wheat tortilla
• Turkey breast
• Low fat cheese
• Lettuce/tomato slices
• Pretzels
• Grapes

Waffle Sandwich
• Toasted and cooled Nutrigrain waffle
• Peanut butter
• Banana and strawberry slices
*…if your child’s school has a “no nut” policy…this waffle sandwich works great with slices of lean ham, cheese and thin slices of apple*
• Vanilla yogurt
• Homemade trail mix
Hummus Dip
• Baked whole wheat pita wedges
• Cut up carrots, celery and red pepper
• Babybel cheese
• Low fat pudding

Cheese Quesadilla
• Whole wheat tortilla
• Cheddar cheese
• Pinto beans
• Strawberries

Tuna Salad
• Crackers
• Carrots
• Celery
• Apple slices
• Yogurt

Tostadas
• Tostada shell(s)
• Fat free refried bean
• Grated cheese
• Applesauce
• Animal Crackers

Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwich
(softened low fat cream cheese mixed with honey and orange zest, spread on whole wheat bread and topped with sliced strawberries)
Boiled egg
Watermelon cubes

Pasta Salad
• Mini sized pasta
• Peas
• Shredded carrot
• Grape tomatoes
• Cubed turkey or ham
Dress with low fat Italian dressing and serve with some whole grain crackers or breadsticks


Back-to-School Breakfast Ideas

By: Tarie Beldin, RD, LD

As they say…it is the most important meal of the day! Cereal and milk everyday can get boring and a lot of the prepared breakfast foods are not the healthiest….so try some of these quick ideas to send them out the door with a full stomach and ready to learn.

Pop Toast
2 slices whole wheat bread, crust removed
Heart healthy margarine
All-fruit jam

Spread both slices of bread with the margarine and then spread the jam on one slice. Top with the other slice of bread and seal edges with the tines of a fork. Pop in the toaster. Optional choices: Nutella or Peanut Butter with banana slices, low fat cream cheese and jam, even American cheese and pre-cooked bacon.

Serve with milk.

Breakfast Crostini
Slices of French bread
Ricotta Cheese or Low fat cream cheese
Honey
Mixed berries

Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven till lightly brown. Mix together the Ricotta or the cream cheese with a little bit of honey to taste. Spread the Ricotta/cream cheese honey mixture on the toasted bread and top with the berries.

Serve as a side with scrambled eggs and milk.

Muffin Frittatas
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
Optional…add ~1 cup chopped ingredients such as: lean ham, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, zucchini, onion etc.

Beat eggs and milk add all of the rest of the ingredients. Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin tins, about 1/4 cup. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins. Serve warm.

These can be made ahead and quickly re-warmed in the microwave in the morning.

Breakfast Cheesecake Squares
Ricotta cheese or whipped cream cheese, mixed with favorite jam. Spread on graham cracker squares.

Serve with a banana and milk.

Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 large banana

Blend ingredients together in a blender till smooth…add a little more milk, if too thick. Serve immediately. Makes ~2 cups. Can be served alone or paired with a slice of toast.

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