Nutrition Tips for Busy Families
By Kebbie Stine, MNT
We all know that we need to provide a healthy balanced diet for our children, but sometimes between our busy schedules and their busy schedules it gets a little tricky. The packaged convenience foods and drive-thru meals seem like a good idea to save time, but in the long run are detrimental to our kids brains and bodies. With a little planning you can pack healthy snacks for on the go ease, here are a few examples:
- Eat your veggies! Thin sliced carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and broccoli “trees”. These crunchy snacks are easy to pack and have the added bonus of being hydrating for our athletes. You can have dips like guacamole, hummus, or homemade yogurt dip handy for dunking; try putting dips in a small mason jar and inserting the veggies like sticks for a mess free snack.
- Everyone loves fruit! Fruit is an easy on the go snack; berries, sliced apples/pears, Cutie oranges, grapes, and bananas are all full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins/minerals and are hydrating. Skip the juice, since the fiber is removed the natural sugars break down at a much faster rate spiking blood sugar and leading to an eventual energy crash. Try instead blending fruit in a high speed blender and freeze in popsicle molds for a tasty treat!
- Protein builds healthy kids! Kids more than anyone need real, clean sources of protein. Some healthy on the go options are organic string cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, nuts or trail mix, pretzels with nut butter, low sugar jerky (turkey, fish or beef), and no nitrate/nitrite deli meats. Try making roll-ups by layering a large spinach leaf,a slice of turkey, and half of a string cheese, then roll into a log and secure with a toothpick for a packable snack.
- Include healthy fats! Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet, especially for kids. Fats are needed for healthy cells, healthy brain/nerve function, hormone production, and for shuttling fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Choose healthy fats like whole fat organic dairy, grass fed meats, eggs, avocado, olives and nuts.
- Young athletes need quality carbohydrates! Our muscles utilize glucose for energy, and our active kids need to consume healthy carbs for energy. Healthy carbs include whole grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice,whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, squash and beans. Avoid refined simple carbs from foods like white bread, pastries, cookies, cakes, crackers, and breakfast cereals. These foods spike blood sugar causing an energy high and then subsequent energy crisis. This constant rise and fall in blood sugar causes athletic performance to suffer, mood swings, brain fog, and even learning disabilities.
- Drink lots of water! Kids should be drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep their body’s happy. Skip sweetened beverages like juice and soda as these are dehydrating. You can add fresh fruit, mint or cucumber to water to add some flavor.
- Get kids involved! Invite your kiddos into the kitchen to help chop, slice and choose foods. Studies show the more involved kids are with food preparation the more variety of foods they will try. Make it fun!
Kebbie Stine is a Master Nutrition Therapist in the Denver area. She practices nutrition therapy at Washington Park Chiropractic, Integrative Health, and is the owner of Whole Choice Nutrition Therapy. Contact Kebbie at firstname.lastname@example.org