Recently, I popped by a classroom for a birthday celebration and found a very interesting alternative treat being served. While I consistently (and happily) receive the many cakes and cookies sent in for student birthdays here at ISS, I myself, struggle to be a healthy eater and there is a consequence for that!
Many feel that eating choice is a very personal thing, but research tells us a lot about children’s eating habits and school performance. And we also know that training children at a young age about whole foods and a balanced diet will give them a good start for eating right for life.
So, please take a look at parent Liza Rowen’s article below on healthy school snacks and lunches. Liza is the parent who provided healthy, but yummy snacks for her son’s birthday. I’ve included some other sites but you can find thousands on the net. We will keep this discussion going here at school.
More information on healthy eating can be found on Liza's website at: www.lizarowan.com
Fuel for School
By Liza Rowen
We wave our kids off to school every day for 8 hours or so. In that time they are required to maintain the physical and mental energy to listen, learn, concentrate, interact and play.
How do we help them achieve this, so that they return home with energy left to spare: to do sport activities, complete their homework and enjoy family time before going to bed. To fuel their long day, our kids require:
1) Complex Carbohydrates (for slow releasing energy for brain power and physical energy)
2) Healthy Fats (for immunity and brain development)
3) Quality Protein (for growth and repair of brain cells and body tissues)
4) Fruits & vegetables (for minerals, vitamins and fibre required for increased immunity and better health)
What our kids do NOT need is:
- Refined sugars, flours or oils (avoid white breads, white pasta, white rice and refined oils)
- Processed or packaged foods
- Foods containing colours, additives or preservatives
These foods contribute nothing to our kids good health, and are implicated in reduced concentration, reduced immunity, hyper-activity and mood swings. Give your kids the best start by providing a healthy breakfast including some fresh fruit, and one of the following examples:
• Wholegrain low- (or no-) sugar cereal, or oatmeal, with dairy or non-dairy milk, topped with berries, nuts or seeds
• Wholegrain toast with nut butter, hummus or cream cheese
• Wholegrain wrap or pita with scrambled egg and chopped vegetables
• No-sugar healthy granola with natural yogurt and fresh berries
For lunch and snacks at school provide a combination of
• Complex Carbs: whole grains - bread, pita, wrap, bagel, rice, noodles, pasta, pizza base
• Healthy fats - nuts, (if allowed to school) seeds, avocado
• Quality protein - lean poultry or meat, tuna, salmon, beans, nuts, seeds, yogurts, eggs, cheese
Add to your kids’ lunchbox whatever fruits and vegetables they enjoy - think lots of colour (in soups, crudités, chopped mixed fruits, apple sauce, dried fruits).
For treats that fall in line with the above guidelines, provide homemade & healthy - muffins, cookies, banana-bread, granola bars; low-salt popcorn & wholegrain pretzels, dry healthy cereal.
Water should be the drink of choice (especially in hotter climates), or alternatively diluted fruit juice or healthy smoothies.
To make lunch & snack boxes more interesting;
• Use colorful bento boxes, thermos and cutlery
• Hide notes and riddles, or one of their small toys in the lunch box so kids are excited to see what's inside
• Make interesting shapes, letters or animals out of some foods
• Most importantly, get your kids involved in deciding what healthy foods they want eat, nothing works like empowerment!
Here's to you and your family's good health!
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