Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School

It's that time of year, again.  School bells are ringing, mothers are cheering and students are excited groaning.  School supply lists are never ending; pencils, paper, notebooks, book bags, lunch boxes, etc... As you are crossing items off your list, are you considering what grocery list you will be making to fill your student's lunch box? Sadly, we are facing the highest level of childhood obesity in our Nation's history. One- third of the Nation's children are carrying too much weight. ONE-THIRD. While we can write off excuses for this problem, it simply comes down to our children not eating right and not getting the proper amount of exercise. 

The SC School Garden's program is designed to teach students where their food comes from and hopefully instill healthy eating habits in them. While we are doing our part within the schools, it is also important for them to be hearing the same things at home.  Start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your families meals and encourage your children to put down the remote and get outside and play.

To help make this transition easy we have lots of great school lunch ideas for you to use this year. It is important to keep a variety of ingredients stocked in your kitchen.  Try to mix up the lunch menu and offer your students new things to try.

  • Nut butters (almond, peanut and sunflower are great choices)
  • Cheddar, mozzarella or your favorite cheese (sticks, bricks, shredded or slices)
  • Pesto (goes great with pasta, rice, quinoa, or as a sandwich spread)
  • Pasta (a variety of shapes and even colors like ziti, macaroni, rotini or more)
  • Bananas, apple slices, pear slices, peach slices, grapes etc.
  • Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes etc.
  • Dehydrated, freeze dried or dried fruit (you can even mix with granola and dark chocolate chips)
  • Yogurt (try adding nuts and honey to plain greek yogurt)
  • Bread (whole wheat pitas, english muffins, tortillas or your favorite sandwich bread)

School lunches can be a lot of fun.  Try cutting sandwiches in different shapes.  Rotate between salads, crackers with cheese and meat, sandwiches, pasta, etc. Help your student want to eat healthy!

Happy New School Year! We hope it is a great one! Please share you lunch ideas with us, too! Hope they are successful with your student!