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Your McMurray Nutrition

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Healthy & delicious back to school lunch ideas

If summer is the season of spontaneity and freedom then fall is the season of structure and order. Long evenings of bbqs and potato chips are replaced with brown bag lunches and after school activities. So what are some ways we can keep our kids healthy with nutrition during this transition back to routine?

Never underestimate the power of breakfast! For years scientists have been calling it the most important meal of the day for a good reason: it sets you up for success. Protein-rich foods such as eggs are the building blocks of muscle; your body uses complex carbohydrates found in oatmeal and fresh fruit as fuel to provide sustained energy; while healthy fats found in olive oil and avocados feed and nourish your brain. A scrambled egg, piece of toast, and a side of fruit is an excellent way start your child’s day off on the right foot.

Humans are predisposed to liking sweet foods. This is why we find such pleasure in baked goods, chocolate bars, and candy. But Mother Nature provides us with sweets that are both satisfying and good for us...fruits and berries! Send your kids to school with a guilt-free snack of low fat yogurt, strawberries, and bananas. This will satisfy their sweet tooth while providing digestion enhancing probiotics and fibre, immune boosting vitamin C, and heart healthy potassium.

Were you aware that processed white breads that are “enriched with vitamins and minerals” must, by law, add in artificial vitamins and minerals to replace the ones lost in the milling process? Doesn’t it make more sense to buy the whole grain breads that still naturally contain their nutrients instead of the “enriched” ones? Create healthy wholesome sandwiches by adding whole fruit jams and almond butter to help build strong bones and teeth. Or add lean protein like chicken or turkey with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber to make a fresh lunch that is low in calories and loaded with water soluble vitamins. Encourage your kids to eat the crust; it contains eight times more antioxidants than the bread!

Healthy snacks are a great way to regulate your child’s blood sugar levels. This helps keep their moods even and their brains fueled so they can focus and learn more. Calcium rich low fat cheeses help grow and maintain healthy bones and teeth. Pair with low sodium pickles or baked whole grain crackers. Nuts and seeds are great sources of healthy oils and protein. Try combining them with fibre rich dried fruit and antioxidant loaded dark chocolate chips. Or cut up fruits or veggies with low fat dips to increase nutrient intake and help keep them hydrated.

It’s often difficult to get kids to eat healthy so do them and yourself a favour and lead by example. Plus, if you know your child had a belly full of nutritious food all week you won’t have to feel guilty taking a night off from cooking and ordering a pizza on Saturday night...loaded with veggies of course!


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