Diet: Routines help with a healthy start-to-school diet

Take the time to think about a healthy diet for the whole family. Whenever possible, make breakfast a family event. Parents are role models for their children. It is very difficult to ask a child to follow dietary guidelines if the adults in the household aren’t.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Research shows that children who eat breakfast often perform better in school. Many schools offer breakfast. There are also many breakfasts that can be prepared the night before and quickly prepared in the morning.

Place a few beaten eggs and a handful of chopped vegetables (onion, spinach, bell peppers, and mushrooms) in a sealed microwave-safe container and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, heat the open container in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir and reheat until the eggs are fully cooked (about 45 seconds). Eat scrambled eggs from the container or wrap them in a tortilla for a take-away breakfast burrito.

Prepare a large amount of your favorite smoothie. Make sure that you include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Freeze in small popsicles.

Make an oatmeal buffet. I have a basket of oatmeal toppings like nuts, nut butters, coconut flakes, seeds, and dried fruits. This also includes fresh fruit and dairy products. Diced apples, canned pumpkin, ginger, grated carrots, and cinnamon add some seasonal fall flavors. Don’t be afraid of the occasional sweets like honey, chocolate chips, jam or mini marshmallows.

Toast is a quick classic. Top with your favorite fruits and vegetables. Some examples: peanut butter and strawberries; Ricotta cheese with salmon or ham; or avocado and tomato.

If your student brings lunch to school, pack it the night before. A good trick is to keep the lunch box in the same place in the refrigerator so your child knows where to get it every morning. After school, make sure your child removes all litter from their lunch box and puts the ice packs in the freezer. When packing a lunch, be sure to include a protein, whole grain, vegetable, and fruit. A bento style lunch box helps organize all of the food groups.

Set up a snack station for healthy snacks after school. Have a designated basket or cabinet drawer filled with individually portioned snacks. Some ideas are nuts, whole grain crackers, popcorn, or dried fruit. Also provide a designated space for snacks in the refrigerator. Make sure the refrigerator is filled with shredded fruits and vegetables. Other chilled snack items can include cheese spreads, yogurt, hummus, or cottage cheese.

If you need assistance with paying for school meals, there is an application for free and reduced meals. According to the Duluth School District, “Children in households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and foster children can have free school meals without leaving the household report income. In addition, children can receive free or discounted meals if their household income is within the income indicated for the household size in the application guide. An application must be made every school year. The school lunch permit is good for the school year. “

Brenda Schwerdt, RD, LD, CNSC, is a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke.

Brenda Schwerdt, RD, LD, CNSC, is a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke.

Brenda Schwerdt, RD, LD, CNSC, is a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke.