Back to School Nutrition Tips
It’s that time of year again! The kids are headed back to school, family vacations are winding down, and it’s time for a set schedule again. Going back to a routine can have its advantages, but it can also feel challenging to make time for healthy eating and staying active. Below are the four most important tips to help ease you into your busier schedule, while still making healthy choices.
Plan your Meals for the Upcoming Week
Take the time to check your schedule for the week ahead, and see which nights you’ll have time to cook, or be rushing to get the kids to their after school activities. This will help you make enough food for leftovers, or plan a healthy convenience meal in advance.
Preparation is Everything
Just as you planned your meals, taking the time to do some basic prep work on the weekend can help your week run smoothly. You don’t necessarily need to cook all of your meals for the week (but you can if this works for you). However, you can chop your fruit and veggies, cook some whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc.), and even cook some of your protein (meat, chicken, etc.) if you wish.
Have a Plan B
Schedules can change last minute, and you may not be able to cook the meal you were planning on. It can be helpful to have some easy to prepare staples in your pantry and freezer. Keep frozen veggies on hand, they are just as healthy as fresh (just get them without a salty sauce added). Keep whole grains in the pantry (whole wheat pasta, quinoa, bulgur). Quick protein options could be making a quick veggie and egg scramble or frittata for dinner (see recipe below), or even picking up a rotisserie chicken on the way home.
Pack Lunches the Night Before
This goes for your own, as well as your kids. This helps your morning run smoother, and you can focus on packing a healthy lunch and snacks for the day. This defends against the grab and go unhealthy quick options.
Veggie Frittata and Green Salad (3 servings)
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms of choice
• 1 cup asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
• 1 tsp. minced garlic
• ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
• 6 whole eggs
• 3 egg whites
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 6 cups spinach
• 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. vinegar of choice (balsamic, apple cider, etc.)
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat oil in large cast iron (or other oven safe skillet) over medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms and asparagus ~8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté ~1-2 minutes.
• Beat eggs and egg whites in large bowl with salt and pepper.
• Remove pan from heat and pour egg mixture over vegetables. Place in oven and bake about 15-20 minutes or eggs are set.
• Place spinach and tomatoes in large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients to make vinaigrette. *Only toss salad right before serving.
Nutrition: 350 calories, 20 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar, 24 grams protein, 273 mg sodium.
Elise Campbell, RDN, CSSD
Project Wellness Nutritionist & Personal Trainer