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Back-to-School: 3 healthy ways to add nutrition to your kids’ day

Published Aug 24, 2021

Parents want their kids to eat healthy, but it’s difficult to compete with a world of processed foods full of sugar and empty nutritional value. The challenges parents are facing today include a sense of urgency to provide nutritious meals, support mental health, and solidify bonds with family and friends. 

The Gardyn team includes many parents and we’re committed to empowering our families and yours to explore new flavors and provide healthy options that aren’t too complicated.

Here are 3 healthy ways to add nutritious options to your children’s day:

#1 - Establish good habits at home.

Childhood obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases top the public health crisis today, which has increased over the last two decades according to a 2021 investigation of 33,000 American children, ages 2 – 19. The combination of ultra processed foods and excessive calorie consumption contributes to significant and unnecessary weight gain for young people.

So why not start by involving kids in home meal-prep? Encouraging hands-on opportunities allows little chefs to safely explore new flavors and ask questions. In addition, creating a meal provides a great deal of personal satisfaction and equips kids with essential skills for living.

Make “taste-testing” a regular habit at home, familiarizing your family with the names, textures, and visual identity of ingredients before they are chopped, sauteed, and cooked. 

While serving healthy options can be initially be greeted with disgust and disinterested eye rolls from toddlers and teens alike, hopefully when they venture out of your home they will be more likely to make more nutritional choices based on positive experiences at home.

Cooking Light contributor, registered dietitian, and mom, Dr. Carolyn Williams strongly suggests letting your kids make their own lunches – and being responsible for what comes home from the grocery store.

“Yes, I am a dietitian, but that doesn’t mean my nutrition knowledge automatically creates kids who eat healthy,” Williams shared in her 2018 column, Your Kids Should be Packing Their Own Lunch. “In fact, frustration and exhaustion are what led me to start requiring that my kids be involved in packing their lunches, but it has evolved to be a really good thing.”

After implementing the new rule of “make your own lunch” in her home, Dr. Williams says her kids are learning responsibility, their family is wasting less food, and everyone is learning to meal plan in a healthy way from a young age.

“Parents are the gatekeepers when it comes to what comes home from a grocery trip, and kids can’t pack junk if it isn’t in the pantry and fridge,” explained Williams. “While I’m not suggesting that all less healthy foods are off-limits, be careful that those items aren’t easier to pack, or more tempting than healthy items.”

#2 - Start their day off strong.

There’s evidence that the meals offered through school breakfast and lunch programs are skewed towards processed and high in sugar options according to a 2020 report from The American Heart Association. Many school districts continue to offer options that far surpass the daily recommended sugar intake and weaken sodium and whole grains nutrition standards.

“America’s love affair with sugar and especially sugary breakfast cereals, pastries, and beverages has unfortunately segued into school breakfast,” says Chef Ann Cooper, an internationally recognized chef, educator, and advocate of healthy food for all children. 

If mornings before school allows for time to eat breakfast, try prepping as much as you can on Sundays by freezing prepped fruit for smoothies on the go and boiling eggs for quick protein packed options.

#3 - Offer smarter snacks.

The "Anything Goes" box also has gluten free and paleo options.

Need convenience and accessibility? Try to-go options from companies like The Goods Mart. Committed to providing better-for-you foods and making them more accessible, The Goods Mart has standards in excellence when serving their customers.

Not only do all the products they sell online and in their New York brick-and-mortar store ditch artificial colors, flavors, growth hormones, and pesticides, founder Rachel Krupa celebrates brands and incredible makers of all colors and backgrounds that make a positive impact on our food system.

Shop individual snacks or select a variety box of personally curated goodies that satisfy all of your tastebud’s desires and make you feel good.

How Gardyn Helps:

Bringing families together over a healthy and delicious meal is easier with Gardyn and eliminates the need of over-purchasing at the grocery store. Just harvest what you need and leave the rest. Gardyn is always at home, waiting with fresh meals. You don’t have to think about complex meal planning and spending time at the grocery store.

Good for you and your family.

How do you encourage your family to eat healthy? We'd love to know!

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