Eating On the Move: Healthy Pack-N-Go Snacks and Meals
By Patty Hudek
Are you looking for ways to incorporate healthy meals and snacks into your busy schedule? Eating healthy is often associated with the mindset that it’s harder than the other, often more expensive, options such as eating out or buying pre-packed meals. Change for Life, an initiative by the Department of Health in the UK, states that one of the myths people believe is that healthy foods are more expensive. The researchers say, “Loads of people think this is true, but it’s actually more likely you will find a lot of cheap healthy meal ideas that help save you money.” Finding ways to pack great, well-rounded lunches and snacks for your children to take with them while remaining cost effective can be a struggle. And let’s not forget about adults — healthy snacks and meals are essential in the hectic world we live in. Try these simple ways to make healthy pack-n-go snacks and meals simple:
Fruits and veggies
Including a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way for children to get fiber, minerals and vitamins that they need to function well. There are many ways to get children to try the fruits and veggies — fresh, dried, in yogurts, smoothies, and granola are just a few ways to entice children to try a healthier food option. Try homemade chips made from kale, eggplant, potatoes or squashes for a healthier alternative to store-bought brands. Making these at home will also get the kids excited to try something they helped make.
When washing, cutting and preparing healthy foods, prepare just a little extra so you can save time later. When healthier foods are easier to access, individuals are more willing to eat them.
It’s simple to add whole grains to lunchboxes. Throw in some whole grain crackers, add homemade granola or trail mix, use whole grain crust for pizzas and whole grain breads for sandwiches. These are some really simple ways to make meals healthier without spending more at the grocery store. Just be aware of packaged granola and trail mix from the grocery store as it can have unnecessary added sugar.
While sugary foods aren’t good to consume in mass, they can be enjoyed as a special treat. One easy way to have something special but keep it healthy is making a fruit and yogurt parfait, homemade fruit leather, fresh berries or oatmeal raisin (or cranberry) cookies! According to the Whole Kids Foundation, it’s all about making gradual transitions for youth. Adding something sweet to go with fruit is an excellent way to make healthier decisions. For example, making bite-sized caramel apples or putting fresh fruits in gelatin dessert are great ways to include vitamin-rich fruit.
Take it on the road
Keeping a bag of trail-mix, carrot sticks, or whole apples to munch in the car is a great way to fuel children while giving them something healthy to curb their hunger.
There are hundreds of resources out there with many ideas for simple lunches and snacks that not only taste good but also are good for the budget and easy to transport. Healthy choices provide the nutrients that childrens’ bodies need to have energy throughout their day, good memory and building their bones and muscles to be stronger. Let’s help the children out by packing healthy choices when we’re on the go.
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