Healthy Family Eating on the Go
With school back in session, our days (and nights) can feel like a mad rush from one activity to another, and time to prepare healthy meals can be few and far between. How can your family maintain healthy eating habits as your pace of life speeds up?
As part of Musselman’s Growing a Healthy Family Sweepstakes, we want to help you find fun ways to eat healthy, stay active, and spend meaningful time together as a family. Here, three tips on eating healthy on the go.
Pack nutrition into your kids’ lunch
In many cultures, lunch is the most important meal of the day — and an essential time to pack in needed nutrition to power you through the rest of the day. How can you make sure your kids get what they need mid-day?
First, it helps to know what, exactly, constitutes a healthy lunch. As you might have heard, the rules (aka the food pyramid many of us grew up with) have changed. Now, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends this:
- Include fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein in every meal
- Make half of your lunch fruit and vegetables
- Make half of your grains whole grains
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks (or fat-free or low-fat milk, if you consume dairy)
You can learn more about the recommendations on USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov website.
Have your kids pack their own lunch
When kids make their own healthy selections, versus being forced to eat that bite of green beans, for instance, they develop positive habits that can last a lifetime, experts say. A great place to give them some decision-making authority is with lunch — your kids can pack their own! How can you set them up for success?
Have them pack lunch the night before school (as opposed to the morning of) so they’re not too rushed. Then have plenty of options on hand that don’t require much preparation — sliced fruit and vegetables, tasty dips like hummus, raisins and nuts, and yogurt tubes are all great. Musselman’s Apple Sauce also has some convenient options — single-serving cups and the new BIG CUP — which are easy to toss in, too, and made from fresh, 100 percent American-grown apples; from original and cinnamon to strawberry (As an added bonus, know that when you purchase Musselman’s Apple Sauce cups with pink packaging, we’ll donate $.05 per package to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.)
Don’t forget snacks
While balanced meals are vital to a healthy lifestyle, remember that snacks provide another chance to work essential nutrients into your family’s diet. They also help keep blood sugar levels (and our mood and energy levels!) from dipping mid-afternoon.
Keep healthy snacks in a variety of places — your gym bag, purse, and car — and don’t get caught off-guard. Remember: as your pace of life increases with the school year, you’re bound to get stuck somewhere without access to food. Stock up on non-perishable items that don’t require refrigeration, and stave off the hunger pangs that can come when you get sidetracked by the unexpected.
How do you keep your family eating healthy on the go? Share tips with us on Facebook!