Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mealtime Magic: Back-to-School Snacks

It seems like just yesterday school ended for the summer. But, believe it or not, a new school year is beginning. Children in some areas have already reported back to school. Back to school also means determining the best snacks and lunches to prepare for children. So what are some healthy back to school lunches and snacks that children will enjoy? What are some foods that people might consider to be healthy that should be avoided?
I had a chance to interview Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist, author of the award winning book, The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, and CEO and founder of NAMED. Dr. Kantor has a list of the best and healthiest back to school lunches and snacks and also those to avoid. 

What are some easy back-to-school lunch packing ideas?
Have them decide what kind of protein they would like, examples include:
·      Nitrate free lunch meat
·      Boiled eggs
·      Greek yogurt
·      Tuna/chicken salad
Then have them choose their favorite fruits, veggies:
·      Apple slices
·      Carrot sticks
·      Cherry tomatoes
·      Cucumbers
·      Mandarin Oranges
·      Celery
Last but certainly not least choose a healthy fats like:
·      Hummus
·      Guacamole
·      Nuts
·      Trail mix
·      Nut Butter (almond, cashew or sunflower)

Specific Options include:

·      Twist on PB&J (2 slices Whole grain bread, 1-2 Tbs. all natural almond or cashew butter and all natural fruit spread or better yet real berries + 1 apple + 1 serving carrot sticks with 2 Tbs. hummus for dipping.
  • Lettuce Wraps with nitrate free deli chicken or turkey, tomatoes, spinach, 1 oz cheese and mustard + 1 c chopped melon + and ¼ c nuts or homemade trail mix
  • 1 serving almond crackers + ½ c chicken or tuna salad + 1 banana + 1 c cucumber slices with salsa or hummus for dipping
  • 6-8oz Greek yogurt + ½ c all natural granola + ½ c berries and 5 celery sticks with all natural peanut/almond or cashew butter and raisins (ants on a log) 
If your child is actually involved with the planning process they will feel like they “own” the lunch and will be less likely to throw away things that they do not want.  Teachers and cafeteria staff report that fruits and vegetables end up in the trash in most school cafeterias.

Can you share some options that are unique but kids can still pack themselves?

For younger children who love to pick, pack finger foods like grapes, carrot sticks, cheese squares, trail mix, hummus and/or a sandwich.  This is like a mini appetizer plate or a protein box that is sold at coffee shops.
Are there treats that parents might assume are healthy that really aren't?
100 calorie packs, just smaller versions of the original product.  They still contain harmful preservatives, dyes, and unhealthy levels of processed sugars. 

Organic juice boxes, juice is a terrible option for kids because it is high in sugar and can even suppress their appetite during the small window of time they have to eat, resulting in them not getting in enough energy to function at their best for the rest of the school day.  Instead pack them high quality hydroxide alkaline water like AQUA-OH! This will help eliminate acid in their bodies (much of which comes from sugar), this will reduce inflammation over a period of time, which will result in increased ability to focus at school. You can add Stevia for taste if needed. It is all natural, made from limestone and comes as a concentrate so it is less expensive then juices or other alkaline waters. They can even help make it since it comes as a concentrate which will help them take ownership of the water.

Dr. Keith Kantor ( is a leading nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking program ( 

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