Nutrition pros and FITNESS contributors Chris and Kara Mohr answer your pressing diet Q’s…
September means one thing to moms across the country: Back. To. School!
Though there’s certainly a bit of sadness — time with the kiddos is reduced, pools are closed, vacations are over and freedom comes to a screeching halt — let’s be honest, there’s also a sigh of relief for both moms and kids.
One question that always comes up from the moms we work with, though, is “What should I feed my kids at school?”
It’s tough sorting all the messaging, marketing and information companies throw at us. So we wanted to share a few things we do for our daughter that have seemed to work well. Fueling kids’ bodies is important. They’re active, they’re learning, and they need to stay alert. Soft drinks and sugar laden snacks won’t do it. But fiber, protein, healthy fats and the right fluids will.
Let’s look at four smart options within those categories above and aren’t overly processed, high in sugar, or full of junky ingredients. The best part of all of these: They’re all perfect for kids (and adults).
1. Wonderful Pistachios. These are a personal favorite in the Mohr House. Our 3 year old loves them because they’re fun to “crack open” and of course taste good. We love them because we know she’s eating something great for her. Outside of that — you get the most “bang for your buck” with these little green buggers at 49 nuts per serving! They’re great for after school, at the office and because they’re non perishable, on the go. Since they’re a good source of fiber, healthy fat and protein, they’re also great for satisfying cravings and keeping your energy consistent between meals.
2. Oranges and Grapefruits. These aren’t more ‘magical’ than other fruits, but their tough skin makes them more durable and therefore portable, without getting bruised. And kids like the wedges since they’re more “fun” to eat than many others fruit options.
3. Apple & Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Ella, our 3 year old, LOVES these. The apple slices act as the “bread” and the peanut butter holds them together. Slice an apple thin, spread a side with peanut butter — just like you would with a sandwich — put them together and voila, a fantastic snack. The apples are of course fantastic for you with all their vitamins, minerals and fiber. And the natural peanut butter is loaded with healthy fat and protein to help fill you up as well.
4. Sabra Hummus cups. We love hummus. And we like that Sabra came out with little individual serving size cups. They’re convenient, they’re high in fiber and protein, and when you use veggie sticks, like celery or carrots, as the vehicle of delivery, it’s even better. Enjoy.
That’s it. Four, super easy, super convenient, and amazingly healthy snacks (that your kids will love). Pack these in their lunch boxes to help load them up with a great fuel and plenty of goodness.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well consumer savings expert Jeanette Pavini says this is reality with one simple trick: Packing your lunch.
Pavini, a Coupons.com pro, did the leg work by shopping at her local stores and using available discounts (don’t worry, she didn’t spend hours scouring the circulars like the extreme couponers…meaning you can do it to!). She compared the prices for homemade to the average deli price for three popular sandwiches, and found that you can save $23.75 per week—or $1,235 over the course of a year—by doing just a little shopping and taking five minutes each day to prep your lunch.
Here’s the scoop:
Turkey and cheese on wheat with lettuce, tomato and mustard
- Average deli price: $7.13
- Homemade price: $2.68
- Homemade price with sales and coupons: $1.93
Tuna and cheese on mulitgrain
- Average deli price: $7.63
- Homemade price: $2.60
- Homemade price with sales and coupons: $1.66
Veggie sandwich on multigrain (lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, red onion and cucumber)
- Average deli price: $6.72
- Homemade price: $2.00
- Homemade price with sales and coupons: $1.30
Pavini says that you can save big by watching for coupons and being open to trying different brands and products on special at your local store. More good news: You can rest assured knowing that there won’t be any unwanted “secret sauce” on meals you make yourself!
More from FITNESS:
- Healthy Sandwich Recipes from Top TV Chefs
- The Best Grocery Store Buys for Lunch
- Good-For-You Lunches Under 400 Calories
Now tell us: What is your favorite brown bag lunch? And how often do you pack or eat out for your midday meal?