With the start of the school year comes activities and life on the go for many families. Sprinting from school to events can make it difficult to keep everyone fueled and eating healthy– and even harder on a budget. While many states are turning towards healthy school meals for all students, families in other states need to make a dollar stretch further to keep everyone fed.
Here are some ways you can fuel the after school activities and family road trips on a budget:
- When you’re prepping and planning for the week, cut some extra veggies for the week. Kids love carrots or cucumbers, and they are so easy to grab and go! Add some low-sugar peanut butter or hummus for a quick snack any time. Pro tip: store your carrots in water to keep them from getting white and dried out!
- Grapes are the ultimate easy snack. You can just pull a bunch off, give a rinse and throw in a baggie. Add some low fat cheese and your little one will be ready to score the big goal.
- Life happens and sometimes, you can’t always have snacks on hand. Sometimes, you just must eat out. When you do, you don’t have to go for all the unhealthy stuff! More and more, restaurants are providing healthier options and have information on what is in what they make. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you know if the chicken has been heavily brined in salt or the sauce is very sugary. If they don’t have the answer, most chains will have the nutritional information on their website. If there’s a place you go to often, see what you can find out about your families usual picks.
- Another great tip when eating out with your family is to ask for healthier options as sides or drinks. Children drink most of their sugary drinks when eating out. Fries, sodas, cookies, it all adds up to excess sugar and salt which can lead to health complications for children. You can ask for water or 100% juice instead of a soda or a healthy fruit or vegetable as a side. Most placed will be happy to accommodate you.
Some communities, like Montgomery County in Maryland, have created policies which have healthy options as the default option in some of their kids’ meals selections. For example, if a child orders a hamburger, they will be offered carrots and milk. The family can still ask for a soda and fries, but the default will be a healthy option. This helps put parents in the drivers’ seat when it comes to healthy eating when eating out, reducing unhealthy eating – and parents struggles to help their children make healthy choices.
If you’re interested in nutrition policies going on in your community, reach out to your Grassroots representative, Katey or Rebecca, for information about healthy school meals, healthy eating, and more!