Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian
• Ask your children, spouse or yourself for favorite food ideas. Keep a list of them on hand to help with meal planning throughout the year.
• At the grocery store, focus on the perimeter (produce, fish, poultry, tofu, milk products and natural frozen foods). Staples in the middle = pasta, quinoa, rice, cereal, nuts and canned fruit/ vegetables, tea.
• Make a basket of easy-to-grab snacks to increase convenience. Ideas include: baggies of nuts, dried fruit or trail mix; granola bars; whole fresh fruit such as apples, pears and plums; fruit cups such as applesauce or diced peaches; popcorn; baggies of whole grain crackers, pretzels or cereal; fig bar cookies; and shelf stable milk or juice boxes.
• Get in a habit of meal-making (try to involve your family, too) at least once a week where you make double the portions and freeze the extras for quick leftovers. Examples of good make-ahead meals include spinach, vegetable or lean beef lasagna; baked fish with baked sweet potato fries; and chicken fajitas (freeze the sautéed onion/pepper blend and grilled or sautéed chicken strips). The more often kids help in the kitchen, the more likely they are to try the foods they have made!
• Stock up on these handy, healthy, no-prep lunchbox items: 4-6oz 100% juice boxes, fruit cups, applesauce cups, low fat/low sugar yogurt cups, milk or soy milk boxes, baby carrot baggies, single serve graham cracker or whole grain cracker snacks, apples, bananas, whole grain granola bars, 100% fruit leathers and string cheese.