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Back to School Nutrition Ideas

By Kristina Gorden RN

As the summer ends and fall begins, it is time for kids to head back to school. For some, this means back to packing lunches and snacks and getting out the door in the morning. Packing lunches can be daunting especially since kids can be picky with what they eat. Below are some tips to help you prepare your child for success.

Ensuring your child has a nutritious breakfast is an important way to start the day. Recent research has found glyphosate in a number of commonly purchased breakfast cereals and packaged products such as crackers and oatmeal. This is an ingredient in the weed killer that is sprayed on these crops. Unfortunately, glyphosate has been linked to cancer. To avoid this exposure, it is best to buy products that are certified organic. When serving breakfast, it is important to limit sugar as this causes spikes in blood sugar. Offering fats and proteins along with carbohydrates helps to avoid these spikes in blood sugar which in turn makes for a happy child.

Packing lunches can be overwhelming at times. Do your best to keep things simple. It is important to again make sure there is a protein or fat source along with any carbohydrates to avoid blood sugar crashes in the afternoon. Some easy protein sources to include could be a hardboiled egg or egg cup, sugar, and nitrate-free meat sticks, and organic cheese sticks. If your child does not consume meat or animal by-products, some protein sources can include hummus to dip vegetables in, quinoa salad, or a black bean burger. Nuts and nut butter are also great protein sources if the school is not peanut or nut free. Sunflower seed butter is also an option if it is a nut-free school. Including healthy fats is also important for developing brains. Adding guacamole or avocado slices to a sandwich are good ways to incorporate these fats. Full-fat yogurt can be given with berries and granola. Some children also like to snack on olives or nuts, which are other sources of healthy fats.

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