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13 healthy eating tips for everyone

Kids are back to school and schedules are as busy as ever. Help your whole family learn how to make smarter choices and before you know it, everyone will be earning high marks in healthier eating.

Here are some tips to make it as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Bring healthier treats (sliced apples, baby carrots, popcorn, mandarin oranges) for birthdays and parties and encourage others to do the same.
  2. Don't leave home with an empty tank—breakfast fuels the body so it can work its best!
  3. On weekends, make large batches of homemade whole-grain pancakes and waffles, muffins, hard-boiled or scrambled egg cups in muffin tins—things that can be stored in the refrigerator, reheated for quick grab-n-go breakfasts during the week.
  4. Ditch the breakfast pastries and grab fresh fruit, string cheese, nuts and trail mix for quick breakfasts instead.
  5. Your body is more than 50 percent water. You need more water when you exercise and play, so carry a water bottle during the day to keep well hydrated.
  6. If your children are involved in after-school sports, pack a snack of fresh fruit or veggies. If they eat concession foods, they can add their fruits and vegetables to make a more filling and balanced snack or meal.
  7. Keep ready-to-eat pre-portioned snacks in an easy-to-reach area for kids to eat for after-school snacks and to bring to work. Fruit, cheese sticks, pretzels, veggies, whole wheat crackers and whole-grain cereal (with little to no added sugar) all make great afternoon snacks.
  8. Consider the 80/20 rule in which 80 percent of the time, eat to fuel your body with food it needs to work its best and 20 percent of the time you can indulge a craving.
  9. Plan ahead to eat together as a family several times a week. Children who eat meals regularly with their family tend to do better in school. Enjoy meals and snacks at the dining table and aim for about a 30 minute timeframe.
  10. Encourage everyone to stop eating when their tummies feel full.
  11. Get everyone involved in meal planning. Have kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable they would like to try or let them build their own sandwich.
  12. Keep the lunchbox interesting by varying protein sources such as tuna, peanut butter, turkey, chicken or beans. Also rotate fruits and vegetables—apple, banana, orange, grapes, celery, carrots and broccoli are all great for lunchboxes. At least three of the five food groups—fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy—are needed for a balanced and filling meal.
  13. Set a good example. When kids see parents eating well and exercising they are more likely to do the same.
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