With the end of summer upon us, it is time to get back to
routine. This means starting to get your children on a healthy track in school.
Kids spend half of their day outside of the house between school and extra
activities, so it is important to maintain their healthy habits. Let’s begin
with packing their lunch and snacks to school:
Try to choose whole wheat bread when possible, children can
start eating this too for extra fiber and vitamins, it’s not just diet food! Mix
it up with the kind of bread so your child doesn’t get bored, add in their favorite
veggies, and surprise them with a new ingredient such as avocadoes.
There are different ways to include protein into the
sandwich, besides meat and chicken. Turkey, labneh, and tuna are great choices.
There are also different kinds of nut butters available (as long as your child doesn’t
have an allergen), such as peanut butter or almond butter. Hommos is also
abundantly available and makes a great protein option. Protein helps keep your
child full longer and is important for their growth.
Avoid packaged and processed food:
Limit the croissants, packed muffins, chocolates and junk
food. These are empty calories and will not provide any nutrition for your
child. Let’s face it, your child might choose to spend their money to buy a
chocolate bar at school on their own. However, buying it every now and then is not the same
as packing junk food and making it available daily in the lunch box.
Choose healthy sides:
Dried fruit such as raisins
Apple slices, strawberries...
Baby Carrots and vegetable slices
Low fat yogurt
These are healthier side options instead of chips, oreos,
and gummy bears.
The healthy drink
Don’t forget to pack water, low fat milk or milkshakes, 100%
fresh fruit juice. Bottled fruit juice, fruit flavors, and sodas will all add a
high amount of sugar.
Involve your kids:
Let your kids feel like their in control by allowing them to
choose what they want packed in their lunches. Give them healthy food choices
to choose from. Remember, it is their lunch, that way they are more likely to
eat their meals.
**Food Safety: Remember to be safe and pack foods at the
right temperature and in closed containers.
Get back to routine:
1- Encourage Exercise: Keep your child active by signing
them up for an afterschool activity that involves sports. On the weekend choose
a family activity that involves some exercise. Remember, exercise is a big part
of staying healthy among kids to avoid risks of obesity. Your child is still
growing and limiting food should be considered carefully, therefore keep your child
active to avoid weight gain.
2- Healthy snacks at home: When healthy snacks are available
at home kids are more likely to eat healthy. Keep healthy options such as fresh
fruits and fruit salad, yogurt with fruits such a parfait, or a home-made fruit
3- Family time=meal time: Eating as a family will allow your children to pick up your healthy habits, after all you are their
role models. Research has shown families who eat together around the table have
more nutritious meals. Traditional Lebanese foods involve a lot of healthy
combinations, therefore at meal time your child will have a well-balanced meal.