Tips are designed for schools to easily add to their school newsletters.
Tips are designed for schools to easily add to their school newsletters.
Back to School, Back to Breakfast!
It’s that time of year again! Summer vacation has come to a close and students are back in school. As students get back into the school routine, it’s a great time to think about getting back into the routine of having a healthy and hearty breakfast. If students are distracted by their hunger, it will be difficult for them to focus on their work in the classroom. To enhance learning and academic performance, make breakfast part of your child’s morning. Aim to get 3 out of the 4 food groups in your child’s breakfast. This might be a piece of whole grain toast, sliced cheese and an apple or quick cook oatmeal with yogourt and blueberries.
Universal Breakfast Program
Our school breakfast program offers a balanced, delicious and nutritious start to the day. Delivered by volunteers our program ensures that all students can begin their day, well-nourished and ready to learn. Our program is universal and welcoming to all students arriving to school at no cost. We believe that good eating = good thinking, and we are proud to support the health and learning of our students at ourschool.
Why Breakfast Programs are Important
There are many reasons as to why Breakfast Programs are utilized. Children may have a long bus ride in the morning and do not feel like eating breakfast, they may not have time in the morning or maybe they really enjoy eating with their friends at school. Whatever the reason may be, it is important for ALL children to have the opportunity to eat breakfast before they are ready to learn in the classroom. Studies clearly indicate that a healthy breakfast positively affects student performance. Make sure your children know about the breakfast program in their school!
Celebrations with Children
Trick or Treat? Halloween treats don’t always have to be candy and chocolate. There are many unique and healthy treats to make for Halloween. Try making these fun and spooky snacks:
Witches Fingers: Lay out your baby carrots and use a sharp knife to wedge a few lines to resemble joints. Cut up the red bell pepper and form into nails (long or short, it doesn’t matter, be creative!). Put the peanut butter or hummus on the end of the baby carrot, just like nail glue. Finally, put the nails on the fingers. You made witches fingers!
Spooky Banana Ghosts: Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Place the cut side down so the banana halves stand up. Use small raisin pieces to make ghost eyes and large raisin pieces to make ghost mouths.
Tangerine Pumpkins: Peel the tangerines. Cut the celery lengthwise into thirds and then across into 1/2 inch pieces. Insert the celery pieces the tops of the peeled tangerines to resemble pumpkins.
Wicked Witch Brooms: Cut each string cheese stick in half. Carefully press a pretzel stick into the uncut side of each cheese stick about 1/2 inch deep. Make the bristles using sharp scissors, cut thin slices that are about 1 inch in length.
Packing Healthy Lunches and Snacks
Sending your child with fresh and healthy foods to eat during the day will help them to thrive and be successful in school. For a healthy lunch make sure to include 3 out of the 4 food groups. This might be a whole grain sandwich with chicken and veggies and yogourt or vegetarian chili with brown rice and some strawberries. Think of a healthy snack like a mini meal and include 2 out of the 4 food groups. This might be some carrot sticks and hummus or whole grain crackers and cheese. Use cold packs to ensure that cold food stay cold and thermoses so that hot food stays hot. Get your kids to help you make their lunch too!
Healthy Lunch Ideas
Healthy lunches provide children with the energy they need to learn and play at school. Try these fun and quick healthy lunch ideas:
• Homemade Lunchable: Cut slices of lean sandwich meats, cheese cubes, and whole grain crackers with a side of yogourt.
• Wrap the Leftovers: Use a whole wheat tortilla, add leftover chicken with spinach and finely sliced peppers. Top it off with a side of your child’s favorite fresh fruit.
• Breakfast for Lunch: Add hot cereal to a thermos, top with frozen berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy with milk or fortified soy/rice beverage.
• Serve Hot or Cold: Make a hot Mexican pasta salad for supper using whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken, light ranch dressing, salsa, corn, peppers, beans and cheese. Pack the leftovers for your child’s lunch; it is just as tasty served cold!
• Lunch Box Sliders: Start with a whole wheat/whole grain mini bun, add chicken, romaine lettuce, a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato. Serve with a side of snow peas and carrots.
Many commercial, pre-packaged snack foods tend to be high in sugar, fat and calories. Try these quick healthy snack ideas for a change:
• Fruit kabob with a yogourt dip
• Veggie kabob with hummus: Slice carrots and cucumber (coin shape). Spread hummus on vegetables and slide onto a skewer.
• Low-fat cheese with whole grain crackers
• Ants on a Log: Add hummus to celery sticks and place raisins on top
• Mini pitas with tzatziki dip.
• Sliced pears with low-fat cheese
• No bake energy balls
• Roasted chick-peas
Fun with food
Children experience food using taste, touch and sight. Keep them interested with lunches that include a variety of shapes, colours and textures.
• Shapes: Cut sandwiches into triangles or diamonds. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
• Change the bread: Try different kinds of whole grains (rye, quinoa) as well as the type of bread like whole grain tortillas, bagels and pitas.
• Switch the cheese: Offer a variety of cheese such as, mozzarella, cheddar, Jack, and Swiss. Present them in different forms, such as cubes, strings, or slices.
• Switch up the veggies and fruit: Give your kids something different to experience with each bite. Try cutting them into different shapes like balls, strips, coin or chunks. Pair different colours like green &red or purple & orange.
• Kids love to dip: Use cottage cheese, hummus, yogurt, or guacamole as healthy dips for veggies or whole grain crackers.
Busy schedule? Here are some simple time saving techniques and meal ideas:
Prep on weekends:
• Spend an hour on the weekend washing, peeling, cutting and portioning your vegetables for the following week.
• Cook a big pot of whole grain pasta, rice or quinoa to keep in the fridge. It will be ready to quickly reheat when you need it.
• Marinate meat and freeze in small portions to defrost quickly.
Planned extras: Planned extras make an entirely new meal! Just make a little more food than you need for one meal and reinvent it for another. For example, use leftover chili and make a sloppy chili burger on a whole wheat bun.
Pita Pizza: Use a whole wheat pita and spread low-sodium pizza sauce or barbeque sauce on the pita. Top the pita with mushrooms, spinach, grilled chicken and low-fat mozzarella. Bake in the oven at 350°F until cheese is melted.
Sizzling Fajitas: Grill slices of chicken breast until cooked. Add sliced onion and bell peppers and cook until vegetables are desired texture. Serve on a warm whole wheat tortilla with avocado, low-fat cheese & salsa.
Quesadillas: Start with a whole wheat tortilla, add black beans (drained and rinsed), diced sweet pepper, salsa and mozzarella cheese, fold in half. Grill or bake the tortilla until golden brown.
Tuna Melts: Mix a tablespoon of mustard with canned tuna (drained), and then spread on a whole wheat English muffin cut in half. Top with sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven at 350F until cheese is melted.
Fuel Your Day!
Fruits, vegetables and many other whole foods contain fiber; a nutrient that will help keep you feeling full and give the energy needed to stay active all day! Try swapping the juice box or soda for a whole fruit, such as an apple or orange. Instead of white bread for lunches, try whole grain bread versions in your favourite sandwich.
Handy Portion Sizes
Do you know what counts as a serving? This handy portion guide can make this simple!
1 fruit or grain serving = your fist size
1 vegetable serving = two handfuls
1 meat or meat alternative serving = the palm of your hand
1 fat serving = the tip of your thumb to the first knuckle
Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating
Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating is a great resource to promote healthy eating at home and school Did you know you can order a copy for FREE? Go to healthcanada.ca and order your copy today.
Full Belly = Focused Brain
Breakfast is important! Kids need to be properly fueled to stay focused during class and have energy for activity and play. Breakfast at home or at school should include 3 of the 4 food groups. Eating a variety of foods is important not only provides the essential mix of nutrients required to be successful in school, but also for healthy growth and development. Fully Belly = Focused Brain!
Hydration is important especially during the warm summer months. Plain water is the best choice even on a hot summer day. Need to add flavor to the water? Add lemon slices or your favorite fruit to your water bottle for a refreshing drink without all the added sugar.
Summer Day Trips
Planning some day trips throughout the summer months. Don't forget to pack a healthy snack:
• Going hiking? Bring healthy snacks to keep you fueled all day long like veggie sticks with hummus, homemade trail mix, and fruit.
• Planning a summer picnic? Try packing bite-sized veggies and fruit, whole grain crackers, cheese cubes, and nuts!