School meals may be convenient, and schools work hard to make them healthy, but what do our unsupervised kids actually eat? I am shocked at some school menu options – many schools can do better, but feeding and teaching our kids to eat right is our job as parents!
|Mealtime was always special when we were kids – I’m the one in the cool hat on the Harley.
|A healthy Tony’s Wrap from our Grab-n-Go case.
In just a few minutes a day you can assure your student is properly fueled to learn and play all day long, and at the same time send a loving message they will not forget (I haven’t forgotten, thanks so much mom!) Play an active role in your kids’ success by teaching them proper nutrition; your good examples will instill eating habits that will enhance their lives and long-term health.
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|Food sensitive? Look for lunch meats on the Feingold list.
Healthy Breakfasts and Lunches are Simple, a little lean protein and the right kind of carbohydrates in a tasty and convenient meal. One of my families favorite quick meal solutions are deli meats, so I always keep some good stuff on hand (you’d be shocked what goes into most deli meats, sausages and hot dogs, I’ll get to that in a future blog). We offer a fabulous selection of healthy lunch meats that are low in fat and sodium – and without fillers, extenders, questionable cuts or those nasty meat pastes (think pink slime). They’re also minimally processed the old fashioned way and without added nitrates, nitrites, preservatives or MSG, and they are gluten and allergen free. They even go to the trouble to assure the animals are humanely raised!
10 Fast and Healthy Breakfast Tips
Getting lean protein within an hour of waking works to balance blood sugar levels all day long! Here are some tips that the whole family will appreciate:
|Tony’s Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
1) Roll up slices of Boar’s Head deli meats with slices of cheese, a little sandwich spread, a lettuce leaf and even minced veggies, and then cut them into pinwheels. Simple, convenient and portable!
2) Warm servings of healthy deli ham and cheddar (or whatever) in the microwave or in a pan, put between two slices of whole grain toast with thin slices of apple or pear and cut into finger sandwiches.
|Tony’s Shrimp Stuffed Tomato
3) Layer slices of turkey or chicken and ham between two whole wheat tortillas with a thin spread of berry preserves (or sandwich spread, or cream cheese blended with salsa) and warm in a skillet for a breakfast quesadilla.
4) Toss our pre-cut fruit and berries in plain Greek yogurt with a dab of honey or fruit preserves for a breakfast parfait, pair with a slice of lean ham (or the pinwheels above) and whole wheat toast.
5) Wrap deli meats and lettuce leaves in whole grain tortillas for a super-quick out-the-door breakfast burrito.
6) Make oatmeal the day before, warming it in the microwave with a little milk – or try the McCann’s Steel Cut Oats with the overnight method (boil two cups water, stir in 1/2 cup steel cut oats and a pinch of salt – cover and leave overnight, simmer a few minutes in the morning).
|Choose breakfast bars carefully, most are just candy bars.
7) Make a quick egg scramble with coarsely chopped deli chicken or ham and cheese with bits of bell pepper and onion – serve with whole grain toast and preserves.
8) How about a banana split filled with yogurt, Tony’s cut strawberries, mango and pineapple, all
topped with Kind brand granola?
9) Quarter hard boiled eggs and wrap with a strip of lean deli meat and a dab of mustard or Mayonnaise
10) For the really hard mornings, I keep Kind Bars on hand (pictured left), they’re high in protein and fiber, low GI (sugar), gluten free and make a great breakfast with fruit. We also keep a nice selection of breakfast burritos and sandwiches, cut fruit, fruit and yogurt parfaits – pick some up, they’re great to have on hand!
|10 grams sugar, about a tablespoon
Breakfast Cereal: Take your kids shopping and teach them how to read labels – allow them to only choose cereals with the following 3 guides: At least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Less than X grams of sugar (our guideline was 10g). And the words “Whole Wheat, Whole Oats, or Whole Oat Flour” that are high on the ingredient list.
Don’t worry too much about soluble and insoluble fiber, we need both, just remember insoluble aids in quicker digestion. Also, don’t get hung up on total carbohydrates, especially when there is plenty of fiber – carbs are not bad, actually, they’re our main energy source, focus instead on getting the right carbs from whole grain, fruits and vegetables.
Added vitamins and minerals are a bonus, but not at the expense of too much sugar and empty carbs. Don’t get me wrong, I also think it’s OK to get a box of their favorite sugar-loaded empty-calorie junk-food garbage cereal from time to time and let them have all they want on Saturday morning – if they’ve been good eaters all week long!
|Tony’s Albacore Tuna Salad on Wheat.
|The right container is a huge help, and eco-friendly.
10 Healthy Lunch Tips
I think lunch is easier than breakfast because everyone loves a great sandwich, just don’t make the same sandwich every day!
1) Keep sandwiches interesting and healthy with a constantly rotating variety of premium deli meats, cheeses, interesting condiments and special toppings on whole grain bread. I like to mix different deli meats together, top ham or chicken with unexpected ingredients like egg salad and even crunchy radishes, carrot or bell pepper matchsticks and even fruit preserves.
2) Make quick salads with a variety of fresh greens and thin strips of every fresh vegetable you have on hand, top it with sliced deli meats, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, dried fruit and nuts.
3) Let the kids help you make wraps with whole grain tortillas – start with a little mustard or mayo (or cream cheese, your favorite Tony’s dip, or hummus) and add slices of lean deli meat, cheese, minced veggies, lettuce and more – get imaginative, you’d be surprised how many combinations you can come up with!
4) Many schools have a microwave available, so your kids favorite dinner leftovers can become a quick lunch! Stir fries, BBQ turkey, grilled chicken, vegetable medleys, meatballs and spaghetti, grilled chicken, you name it!
|Get a quality thermos for winter lunches.
5) Visit our Grab-n-Go section for delicious burritos, Euro Sandwiches, bagel sandwiches, cut fruit and berries and other kids favorites like our four compartment lunch packs.
6) Invest in a really good thermos – a good one will keep soup hot for hours! Preheat with boiling water, heat a Tony’s soup to a gentle boil and it will stay hot until mid afternoon!
7) Find some nice dishwasher and microwave friendly plastic containers that seal tightly, or use our deli cups and leftover packaging from our grab-n-go or bakery department – they’ll get all sorts of foods there in good shape, as well as helping to teach a good recycling lesson.
8) Buy your kids a really nice water bottle and fill it up with a drink you can both agree on – insist on getting it back every day to build good habits.
9) Include a mini toothbrush or stick of sugar-free gum (if allowed) to get residual sugars off their teeth.
10) We also have a selection of grab-n-go foods in our deli, including burritos, salads, Euro sandwiches and new kid-friendly options.
|Labels can be tricky, start with serving size – these are good choices.
Get Your Kids Involved!
One of the best gifts you can give your kids is a sound education in basic nutrition based on your daily eating habits and good examples. Start by taking them to the store with you and teach them to read labels (better teach yourself first! Search: ‘how to read food labels’, or try this page for kid specific info). Ask them to help you in the kitchen at as early an age as possible, hands on kids are less picky, and they become healthier eating and longer living adults! Oh, and they can help clean up too (a little reality never hurt anyone!)
|No wonder I feel like I’ve been washing dishes all my life!
Of course it’s OK to have treats, they’re an important part of the balance – we all need a little cake and ice cream from time to time, just not after every meal! It doesn’t take long to learn that fresh fruit, juices and other healthy foods can be a satisfying treat after every meal! Buon Appetito – Salute!
|My sister and I enjoying a treat with a neighbor, I did eventually learn to wash up better.
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