Wow, the end of summer is nearing. It’s hard to believe that on Monday the kids started back to school (including my youngest nephews Brent, who will be going to third grade and Brody, who will be entering first grade. Where does the time go?).
Back-to-school time usually means getting back to some sort of routine for both kids and adults. Even if you don’t have children returning to the grind of knowledge enhancement, you may feel more inclined towards keeping a schedule rather than giving in to those “lazy days of summer.” No more grabbing whatever food and beverage choices are available whenever, as doing so probably means grabbing the least healthy choices.
Since you are likely to be in a time pinch most every day now, you’ll do best if you plan ahead for healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.
Mornings may be the most hectic time of all. Everyone has a deadline to get out the door and where they need to be for the day. Getting kids ready, as well as oneself, can be very time consuming, leaving little, if any time for breakfast.
Try not to skip breakfast. If you do, you’ll hit a mid-morning slump with no energy and most likely a big craving for something not so good for you. This can lead to eating even more calories and fat than you would have had you taken the time to fuel up earlier. Think ahead the night before about what you might eat. If anything can be set out or prepared then, do so, as that’ll be a major time saver in the morning.
If you don’t have time to prepare and sit down to breakfast, have easy to take things on hand. These might include protein smoothies, yogurt, fruit, milk, whole-grain mini bagels, cheese sticks, high fiber/high protein bars, cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, hard boiled eggs and the list goes on. Be creative and pack things you like that will give you a boost in the morning.
Whether you sit down or take your meal with you, have a protein source, such as lean meats, eggs, lowfat cheeses, legumes and peanut butter with your meal and that will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied longer, thereby defeating any mid-morning cravings you may set yourself up for by skipping breakfast or having something high in carbohydrate with little or no protein, such as doughnuts, pastries, huge muffins, sugar frosted cereals or even fruit or juices alone.
You can also pack things that I mentioned as good on the go breakfast choices for snacks later in the day.
For lunch, whether you have time to sit down to a meal or pack it, make wise choices. Again, have protein with your meal to give yourself that feeling of fullness to carry that meal longer until you feel hunger again. Think turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, salad with grilled chicken or tuna and extra vegetables and light dressing, cottage cheese and fruit, hearty vegetable or bean soups with crackers and lowfat cheese. Have fruit for dessert instead of cookies, cupcakes and candy. These are great ideas for kid’s lunches too.
Start early while your children are young, instilling the love of great food and great nutrition.
Be a good example. Let them see you making healthy choices about food and exercise and they will be much more likely to follow your lead and carry those traits into adulthood and then pass them on to their kids and so on and so on.
Sherry Munoz is a registered dietitian at DaVita Dialysis Centers and Banner Churchill Community Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome — send questions to Sherry Munoz, R.D., C.D.E. in care of this newspaper.