PHOENIX (Try It With Tess) -- It's back to school time, and that means packing those lunches again. Schedules can get hectic, and it's convenient to grab a bag of chips and a premade sandwich. But there are some easy and healthy meals you can make to send to school with your child.
"Midday health needs for kids are good carbs and healthy fats," said Ashley Shick with Bashas'. "A balance of those things will help get them -- and their brains -- through the rest of the school day." Shick says some healthy choices include options like whole grains, nut butters, fruits, and vegetables.
Keep in mind that you don't have to start from scratch every morning. Shick suggests using weeknight dinners or even weekend breakfast options for repurposed lunches.
Kids love to eat with their hands, so making sandwiches or wraps or tacos deconstructed allows them to "play with their food" during lunch.
It's just as essential to give kids healthy options once they get home from school. That's a critical time to address hydration. If your child has come home with a headache or a tummy ache, know that it's not uncommon. Those can be signs of dehydration.
Shick suggests after-school snacks that let kids drink their water. Think fruit. Melons, strawberries, pineapples, peaches, and oranges are all high in water content. Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. It should be! It's about 90% water. You can keep portions of fruit in plastic bags in your freezer. Frozen fruit tastes sweet like candy and will help hydrate your child.
Another fun and healthy idea is to give snacks a grown-up spin by creating a charcuterie board. All of the same general items that you use in making one are also good for kids. Shick says choose uncured meats (non-nitrate), fruits, veggies, bite-size pieces of snack bars, cheese, and healthy crackers.
Healthy after-school snacks will help re-energize your kids so they can tackle homework and get through sports practice.