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Healthy meals involve preplanning, interaction


Making healthy choices for school days from breakfast to snacks and lunches isn’t hard to do with just a bit of preplanning and interaction from your family.

Consider getting creative for the most impact that will boost your child’s stamina, learning power and focus. In’s report on 10 lunches to Boost Your Brain Health, foods such as salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, grapes, beans and eggs all contain brain-boosting nutrients and antioxidants.

The article, The Crucial Brain Foods All Children Need, stated certain nutrients also contribute to healthy brain development. These range from protein to zinc, iron, choline, folate, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. All of these are found in a wide range of options including meat, poultry, seafood, veggies, fortified cereals and breads, eggs, and fruits.

Mikala Guillaume, Registered Dietitian with H-E-B, said getting children involved in the decision-making process is a great way to ensure they’re ready to eat their own healthy choices.

“We want to make sure they’re getting whole grains, fruits, veggies and fiber. It starts with tastes and texture preferences. You can go online, get a cookbook, and they can also shop with their eyes. They’re developing skills for healthy eating. Let them drive the interest,” she said.

Stacy Bates, RD, CDE, Nutrition Services Program Manager, H-E-B Nutrition Services, said having your child involved in the grocery shopping and prep of the food is important.

“If you have a picky eater, encourage them to try new foods. They can see it, taste it, and touch it. If they get involved before you put it in front of them, they’ll decide to eat it,” Bates said.

Overall, the content provides not only the basic nutrients, but also has to fill tummies so the kids won’t be distracted by being hungry.

“The protein is really important,” said Guillaume. “It’s hard to learn if you’re hungry. Fat, fiber, and protein that are present means they’re more likely to be satisfied. Eggs and yogurts are good sources of protein. There’s also pre-portioned cheeses and peanut butter that have low sugar and high fiber.”

Don’t forget that back to school means an early breakfast, so plan on quick grab-and-go options.

Guillaume suggested whole grain waffles with Greek yogurt or peanut butter for a good start.

Bates also has recommendations.

“You can do oatmeal with quinoa and baked apples or overnight oats. Greek yogurt has more protein. There are so many great options that are low in sugar and high in protein,” she said.

Snacks are also part of a school-age child’s day. Choosing one that packs a punch is easy to do.

“There are different bar options with great flavors,” said Bates. “There are power crunch bars, snack bites, and protein cookie options that are low in sugar.”

Creating a lunch kit that keeps your child interested sometimes means just thinking outside the box.

“I use the Barilla Plus Protein pasta for pasta salads. You can use edamame, berries, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. You can keep it versatile,” Guillaume said.

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