With the end of August inching closer, it is once again time for parents and kids alike to trade long, relaxed summer days
"With kids heading back to school, it's especially important to fuel them with healthy food all day long," says Sara Wing, Cabot Registered Dietitian. "That means starting every day with a healthy breakfast, packing a nutritious snack, and helping make healthy lunches a reality. And fortunately, these same tips apply to parents and adults as well."
Here are our top back to school healthy eating tips:
>>Choose balanced breakfast options that include a source of lean protein. Try adding Greek-style yogurt or cottage cheese to smoothies, scrambling eggs with cheddar cheese for a breakfast burrito, or serving a low-sugar, whole grain cereal with low-fat milk. Protein helps keep you feeling fuller longer.
>>Pack a balanced snack. Instead of just sending snack crackers, add a snack-size slice of cheese or pair an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter for protein and healthy fat.
>>Create a lunch that's both healthy and satisfying. Kids like fun! So if you're packing a lunch for your child, get creative. Mix plain Greek yogurt with powdered ranch dressing to create a healthy dip that will make veggies fun to eat. Build sandwiches on whole wheat bread and use a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes.
No matter the time of day, it's important to make healthy, nutritious food easily accessible to avoid grabbing less nutritious snack foods. To help parents get the right mix of foods necessary to fuel their kids, or themselves, through a long day, Cabot's registered dietitians developed the Brown Bag Builder, which outlines the correct servings of grains, veggies, protein, fruit, and dairy in a healthy lunch.
Find the Brown Bag Builder at cabotcheese.coop/pages/health/brown-bag-builder.php.
"Eating healthy can feel boring, especially to a small child," says Wing. "Recipes like Monkey Toast, Chicken and Black Bean Burrito, PB&J Smoothie, and Whole Grain Get-Up-And-Go Bars are fun and simple to make, and will excite your kids about eating healthy."
See below for those recipes, and find more unique and nutritious kid's recipes at cabotcheese.coop/recipes.
Makes 1 serving
1 slice whole wheat bread, or half a sandwich thin or English muffin, toasted
1/4 cup Cabot Cottage Cheese
1/2 small banana, sliced
1 teaspoon honey
Preheat broiler. Spread toast with cottage cheese and top with banana slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Drizzle with honey and place under broiler until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Chicken and Black Bean Burrito
Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 cup (1/2-inch) pieces zucchini
1 cup (1/2-inch) pieces yellow summer squash
1 cup diced red onion
(Vegetables above can be substituted with 5 cups frozen vegetables)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces Cabot Jalapeno Light Cheddar or Cabot Pepper Jack, grated (about 1 cup)
4 (9- or 10-inch) flour tortillas (burrito-size)
1 cup shredded roasted chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant and lightly colored, about 30 seconds. Add pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, and onion and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle with cumin and continue stirring until vegetables are tender but not soggy, about 2 minutes longer. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Place beans in large bowl; mash into coarse puree with fork. Stir in cheese and reserved vegetables.
5. Place tortillas on work surface. Spoon 1/4 of vegetable filling down center of each, then top with 1/4 of chicken and sprinkle with 1/4 of cilantro.
6. Roll tortillas up around filling. Arrange seam-side-down on baking sheet. Cover loosely with piece of foil.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, or until filling is just heated through. To serve, cut each burrito into two or three sections.
Makes 2 Servings
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup Cabot 2% Plain Greek-Style Yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons raw peanut butter
2 tablespoons strawberry jelly
Place all ingredients together in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into two chilled glasses and serve with a straw.
Whole Grain Get-Up-And-Go Bars
Makes 16 small or 8 large bars
1 1/4 cups regular oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as strawberries, cherries, blueberries, or cranberries
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, preferably pastry flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds or sunflower seed kernels
1/4 cup wheat germ or ground flax seed
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Cabot 2% Vanilla Bean Greek-Style Yogurt, 2% Blueberry Greek-Style Yogurt, or 2% Strawberry Greek-Style Yogurt
2 tablespoons Cabot Salted Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients (through wheat germ).
3. In small bowl, lightly beat egg whites with fork; stir in yogurt, butter, and extract. Add to dry ingredients, stirring well to combine.
4. Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until set all the way to center and lightly browned on top. Let cool and cut into bars.
Source: Cabot Creamery Cooperative, cabotcheese.coop