Summer vacation has come to a close, which means it is time to fall back into the back-to-school routine. The school year is a busy time for families, complete with early mornings and packing lunches from Monday to Friday. Healthy eating can be a real challenge when you are constantly on the go!
Try these tips and tricks to make sure you and your children are getting the nutritious foods you need to conquer the day:
Start your day with breakfast
It has been said many times before, but breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. Despite this, consumption of breakfast dips as children grow older. 77 percent of young children eat breakfast every day, but the number falls to 50 percent in the middle-school years and 36 percent among high school students. Eating a balanced breakfast means eating at least three out of the four food groups at your morning meal. One example of a healthy breakfast is a piece or two of whole grain toast with peanut butter coupled with a piece of fruit.
We all know that eating breakfast is good for you, but what does that mean? Eating breakfast boosts your brain power and improves your ability to learn and concentrate. This directly affects performance at school or work. Also, filling up on breakfast makes you less likely to start snacking on less nutritious foods later in the day. People who eat breakfast regularly tend to get more vitamins and minerals per day, which leads to a healthier diet overall.
Pack for success
When it comes to lunch, you must also focus on packing three out of four food groups. This allows you to get enough energy and nutrients throughout the day. To help you brainstorm ideas for lunches, it can be helpful to write up a simple chart with food options under each food group. And get creative! For example, you could wrap last night’s chicken-vegetable stir fry into a whole wheat tortilla, and couple that with an apple and a yogurt.
We lose at least 2.5 litres of water per day, and even more with exercise and rises in temperature. If we do not replenish our water supply throughout the day, we become dehydrated, which can result in headaches, tiredness, and difficulty concentrating.
Consuming any water-containing drinks will help you to stay hydrated; however, water is your healthiest option! Drinks like fruit juice, soft drinks, chocolate milk and sports drinks should be limited, as they can contain high amounts of added or concentrated sugars.
Put nutritious foods on display
Taste and convenience are among the top influencers of food choice, so make the healthy choice an easy choice. Keep a bowl of fruit available on your kitchen counter, and have freshly cut vegetables and dip ready in the fridge for when you come home from work and your children come home from school. The more visible and accessible we make healthy snacks, the more likely we will be to help ourselves.