August is Kids Eat Right month. Started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation with the goal is to emphasize healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and their families. August is also Back-To-School month for many kids across the country. Heading back to school always brings up the challenges and stress of making healthy but fast breakfasts, packing lunches and snacks, and planning quick and healthy weeknight dinners. Throughout the month ShopWell will provide food ideas and meal planning tips so everyone gets off to a healthy start for the school year.
Starting the day right with a healthy breakfast will provide kids’ brains with the needed fuel and encourage alertness for the classroom. When planning out a balanced breakfast think of the USDA MyPlate model as a guide. Make sure at least half the plate is made up of fruits and vegetables (or aim for ½ to 1 cup of fruits and vegetables), include a source of protein, as well as dairy or other calcium-fortified foods, and some whole grains– perfectly balanced! Try out these weekday breakfast ideas below:
For preschoolers consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D every day are important for building strong bones as they grow. The also need to eat good sources of iron and zinc.
- Make a smoothie with low fat yogurt, banana slices, and frozen strawberries. Serve one cup (or 8 fluid ounces) of this calcium-packed smoothie with one slice of toasted whole grain raisin bread spread with 1 Tablespoon of nut or seed butter. It contains all the food groups, is filling, and satisfying.
- Make a breakfast quesadilla with one small whole grain tortilla folded in half and filled with: 1 egg scrambled with ¼ cup chopped squash, diced tomatoes, and some shredded cheese. Serve with a glass of milk or calcium-fortified all natural juice to boost the calcium intake.
For older kids in grade school it is important for them to get enough calcium, vitamin D, and zinc on a daily basis to support their growth and development. Older kids don’t eat enough sources of vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin E on a daily basis.
- Mix with 1 cup of cooked oatmeal with 1 Tablespoon of nut butter or seed butter. This will make a creamy and filling oatmeal. Top the oatmeal with chopped dried fruit such as raisins and apricots or fresh berries and banana slices. Have a glass of calcium-fortified 100% all natural juice or low-fat/nonfat milk.
- Make fruit and yogurt parfaits –they can be made the night before. Put ¼ cup sliced fruit in the bottom of a bowl or glass jar. Add ½ cup of plain low-fat yogurt or plain Greek yogurt on top of the fruit. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of granola onto the yogurt. Repeat the steps for layering the fruit through granola one more time. Serve with a spoon and watch the parfait disappear.
Teens need extra calcium, magnesium, and zinc to build strong bones as well as vitamin E, potassium, and vitamin C to support growth and development. Female teens should also be getting more iron and folic acid in their daily diet as they enter puberty.
- Make a breakfast burrito that can be eaten on the go. Grab one medium size whole-wheat or multigrain tortilla and fill it with 1 egg scrambled, a few avocado slices, ½ cup of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of spinach or other dark greens, and some shredded cheese. The dark greens will jump start their vegetable intake for the day and provide a great source of folic acid and iron.
- Make a waffle sandwich with 2 slices of multigrain waffles (they can be homemade or frozen), spread with 2 Tablespoons of nut or seed butter, and slices of a banana or apple inside. It is a new and different twist on the classic sandwich. Have a glass of milk, non-dairy milk, or calcium-fortified 100% all natural juice with the meal.