September 17, 2021
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SPONSORED: Elite Living Nutrition – how to give your kids healthy and delicious back-to-school fuel

It’s back to school time again! And while many parents are delighted to pack the kids back to school, they often dread what to put into their lunch boxes, which can be the source of some stress and arguments in many homes.

But don’t worry: help is at hand and there’s plenty of good, healthly – and very tasty – options out there and, with a help bit of positive encouragement, it’s not too hard to steer the children in the right direction.

My advice is simple: involve your kids in the decision making about their lunch boxes and let them get involved in packing them. Fill half or their lunch boxes with colorful vegetables and aim for two to three types of fruit, add in one quarter wholegrains (listed below) and the remaining quarter with healthy protein (also listed below).

Eating a variety of foods keeps our meals times interesting.  It’s also key to a healthy balanced diet because food has a unique mix of nutrients both macronutrients, (MACROS) which is basically protein, carbs and fat) and micronutrients which are basically vitamins and minerals).

It’s also important to remember that fat is a necessary part of our diet, but what matters most is the type of fat we eat. We should regularly choose foods with healthy unsaturated fats (such as fish, nuts, seeds and healthy oils). Limit saturated fats (especially red meat) and avoid trans fats from hydorgentaed oils and limit cooking with butter to occasional use.

With younger kids, explain how a nutritious lunch will give them energy to finish the rest of the school day and enjoy lots of after-school activities with their friends and to beat their friends in soccer or hurling or whatever sports they love. Kids are very competitive so that will be sure to fire them up.

Good nutrition can help a child to focus and concentrate more in a classroom full of other kids. It will make them feel brighter and more energetic and automatically they will become more attentive and make homework a lot easier at home because they will have focused in school because you packed them off with good fuel to get them through their day.

I have also included a colour your own Kids Back to School Healthy Eating Plate, Kids Healthy Eating Colouring Sheet which was created by nutrition experts at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. It will be fun to print it off and have fun with your kids colouring it in and explaining to them visually how their plates should look. When you are finished colouring it in, stick it up on the fridge to remind everyone in the house of how healthy eating should look.

And once you have finished colouring it in, you’ll see the Kids Healthy Eating Plate does not include sugary drinks, sweets, and other junk foods.  These are not everyday foods and should be eaten only rarely as an occaisonal treat.

A good lunch box for a child should include the following variety of food groups:

  • Lean protein meats such as chicken, turkey, beef or fish.
  • Seasonal vegetables and Irish produce whereever you can.
  • Fruit again fruit that’s in season and Irish.
  • Dairy.
  • Water to stay hydrated sparkling or still it doesn’t matter. Maybe the fizz will give them that soda drink feeling.

The portion size they will need will all depend on their age, sex and how active they are.

I have included some good protein, vegetable, fruit and wholegrain choices you can put into their lunch boxes:

PROTEIN

  • Homemade Tzatziki or Hummus Dip
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Natural Bio Yoghurt
  • Falafels
  • Turkey, Chicken, Fish
  • Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Beans

VEGETABLES (cutting the vegetables into shapes will make them more appealing) 

  • Savoury Muffins.
  • Carrot Muffins.
  • Apple Muffins.
  • Courgette Muffins.
  • Mini Cucumbers/Tomatoes chopped up and dipped into the hummus or Tzatziki dip.
  • Carrot coins or sticks.
  • Bell Pepper strips.

 FRUIT 

  • Chop up their favourite fruit and place in the Bento Box (chopped up fruit also increased nutrient consumption).
  • Any berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or banana slices, grapes, apple slices or rings, melon chunks or watermelon.
  • Carrot Muffins.
  • Apple Muffins.
  • Courgette Muffins.
  • Mini Cucumbers/Tomatoes chopped up and dipped into the hummus or Tzatziki dip.
  • Make fruit energy balls with dates (see my website – http://www.elitelivingnutrition.com).
  • Add fruit to lovely homebaked muffins. 


WHOLEGRAINS
 

  • Chose wholegrain brown bread if they won’t eat this try them with a wholegrain wrap – Fitzgerald wholegrain wraps are gorgeous!
  • Portion of Wholegrain Tilda Rice is another great option or rice pasta and they will keep in the fridge for two days.
  • Roasted Sweet potatoes.
  • Quinoa.

DAIRY  

  • Plain Greek yoghurt.
  • Small amounts of string cheese and cream cheese, which contain high calcium, protein, and vitamin D from dairy milk.

SNACK ATTACKS

Remember – snacks for goods are just to fill a gap between meals, not become a whole meal in itself!  Keep snacks small and as a rule of thumb for a satisfying snack pair a protein rich food with a carb-rich food, including a healthy fat which will keep the hunger at bay till dinner time.

HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS 

  • String cheese with one cup of grapes.
  • Peanut, almond or cashew butter spread on a small 100% toasted pitta bread.
  • Carrot sticks or sliced veggies dipped in hummus or Tzatziki.
  • ½ cup of strawberries with 5 ounces of plain Greek yoghurt with some grated 90% cocoa chocolate. all over – great desert too and for adults with a cup of tea.


So remember – try to focus on diet quality throughout your house and to try and educate yourself and encourage your children to eat well and to keep moving.


If you need any further help or advice, you can get in touch with me directly vy visiting http://www.elitelivingnutrition.com


I work with many families, individuals and kids who get phenomenal results when I work with them one to one. 


You can also follow me on Instagram Elite Living Nutrition to get loads of healthy delicious recipes for the winter months ahead!

*Laura Warren is a multi award-winning nutrition expert and founder of Elite Living Nutrition

 

 

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