But now that another school year is about is about to be in full-swing, it’s important to re-establish healthy eating habits and make sure your children have a great foundation for healthy minds and bodies.
Since transitioning out of summer fun and into the classroom can be difficult, here are some healthy alternatives to typical kid summer favorites.
Chicken Apple Sausages
Instead of: Hot Dogs
One study found that children who eat more than 12 hot dogs per month are significantly more likely to develop childhood leukemia than children who don’t eat them. They’re filled with sodium and saturated fat, which can help increase their chances of dehydration and heart disease.
Chicken apple sausages, on the other hand, are made with lean meat that’s lower in fat, calories and salt. The sausages also contain bits of nutritious apple, which add a touch of sweetness that most kids love.
Instead of: Meat Pizza
One slice of standard pizza packs nearly 300 calories, and, like hot dogs, it’s loaded with saturated fat and sodium – 700 mg per piece (Kids need only 1,000 to 1,300 mg per day).
Homemade veggie pizza on whole-grain crust is not only healthier, but children love to help make it. Buy a premixed ball of whole-grain dough, low-sodium tomato sauce and vegetables your little one likes.
“Mushrooms, green peppers, red peppers and tomatoes are great choices,” says Marilyn Tanner-Blasiar, MHS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian in St. Louis, MO. “You can also add skinless chicken breast or lean hamburger for protein,” which keeps kids fuller, longer and means less rooting around in the kitchen for a snack.
Instead of: Sports Drinks & Popsicles
Things like sports drinks and particular sugary ice pops may seem refreshing, but they’re actually filled with sugar and artificial flavors and dyes.