August is Kids Eat Right Month!
Kids Eat Right Month is hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. So this month, look out for all kinds of Dolce Diet blogs on kid-friendly, healthy snacks, dinners, lunches and breakfasts, along with other kid-friendly advice, like shopping with your kiddos! #DolceDietitian
Back to School, Back to Eating Right!
Fueling Your Kids for Better Grades, Better Performance and Better Self-Confidence
by Samantha Wilkinson, MS, RDN, LD, Dolce Dietitian
With only a few short weeks until that first bell rings, let’s get your kids acclimated to their nutrition routine for school right now! Backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and crayons will all be on your shopping list. But what about what we fuel our kids with to give them the energy to write in those notebooks and carry those heavy backpacks to and from school? Practice the meal prepping and timing of their breakfast now while there’s no pressure of time constraints to catch the bus. Below are some tips to keep those growing brains going throughout their long days.
You’ve got to start them off right!
We’ve always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day….it’s true! Breakfast gets our metabolism pumped up and ready to go for the rest of the day. Our first meal essentially wakes up our digestive system. Plus, a positive start usually breeds positive actions and decisions throughout the rest of the day. Eating breakfast will also help kids focus better in class and likely retain information and perform better. Test scores also tend be higher when students have been properly fueled from the get-go. A quick, easy (and 100% Dolce-Approved) breakfast for your kids is none other than the famous Breakfast Bowl! The Breakfast Bowl isn’t just for adults! We have made some adjustments to the ingredient portions to adjust to growing bodies.
Here is the kid-friendly version of the Breakfast Bowl:
¼ cup oat bran or buckwheat
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup berries
¼ sliced banana
1 tbsp. all-natural peanut butter (if you can get your kids to try almond butter then go for it!)
½ tbsp. chia seeds (excellent source of protein and HEALTHY fats for those developing brains!)
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 cup water
Splash of almond milk (optional)
Directions: Put ingredients in cereal bowl and add 1 cup boiling water. Mix well until thickened. (Tip: Add more water for a thinner consistency.)
Another way to modify this recipe is to puree the fruit before adding to the oat bran mixture. This will create a smoother, creamier texture that some kids may prefer. You can also soak the chia seeds in water if your kids don’t like too gritty of a texture.
Now, we are about halfway through the day and it’s time for lunch! If you can, just like we try to emphasize with our adults, prep your kids’ lunches ahead of time rather than letting them buy school lunch. Odds are that the school lunches simply don’t provide Earth-grown, wholesome foods like you can via our Dolce-Approved principles. Just like meal prepping for dinners throughout the week, make your kids’ lunches part of that meal prep session. Now, hopefully you took your kids food shopping with you (per our previous blog) so they were able to have some healthy say-so in their lunches. Here is another quick, easy – and Dolce-Approved – idea for your kids’ lunch:
All-Natural Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter) & Fruit Pita
½ banana, sliced
¼ cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 whole grain pita bread
1 tbsp. organic peanut butter or almond butter with ½ tbsp. of chia seeds mixed in
Directions: Spread peanut butter and chia seeds onto pita bread and add on banana and strawberries.
This recipe is a fun spin on classic peanut butter and jelly and replaces that sugary goop with fresh, whole fruit. They will still get the protein and sweetness that PB&J provides, but with less sugar and far greater benefit.
Anytime you can get creative with a classic recipe kids will usually love it, and often times think it’s something new and exciting! Try cutting their sandwiches or fruits and veggies into fun shapes, or create silly faces with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers on their plate as a side dish. And remember, keep them INVOLVED! Being a part of making their food choices will make them feel empowered and ready to try new things!