1. Pack School Lunches for Your Children
I often cringe when I read some cafeteria menus at school. Make it easier by doing as much preparation as you can the night before, so the kids can grab and go in the morning. Pack lunches with whole grains, fruits, lean, all natural meats and healthy snacks, such as nuts and dried fruits.
2. Quick and Easy Healthy Breakfasts
Toss out those sugar-filled neon-colored "breakfast" cereals. There are dozens of great-tasting, all-natural, organic cereals available at your local grocery store these days. Even better, you can whip up a breakfast smoothie in the morning and let your kids drink it on the way to school. For a great recipe, check out www.AskDrSears.com and type in SMOOTHIE in the search area for suggestions.
3. Healthy Snacks in the Car
Try to keep sealed, non-perishable healthy snacks in your car for when your little one is hungry on the road. Dried fruits, nuts and healthy individually-packaged snacks are a good option.
4. Bring a Cooler on Long Road Trips
Fill your cooler with healthy lunches, snacks and drinks when you plan a long road trip or when you are traveling to a vacation spot. This can help avoid the need to stop at a fast food restaurants in the middle of nowhere when your children suddenly declare, "We're STARVING!" With a well-stocked cooler you'll be prepared.
5. Know Your Meal Options
These days, there are a lot of options parents have at their disposal when you need to stop for a quick bite. Natural food stores such as Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have items that are healthy and ready-to-eat. Even most supermarkets have salad bars and healthier options in their deli section. Also, your town almost definitely has "fresh food fast" type restaurants that cater to the health-conscious consumer. Keep your eyes open while driving around town and make mental notes of places you see that fit this bill.
6. Your Freezer is Your Friend
We all have those family-favorite dishes that the kids are always asking for. If the meals are safe to be placed in a vacuum-sealed container and put in the freezer, they can often keep for several weeks. If you take the time to make a healthy, homemade meal, why not make a few extra batches? This comes in handy during those particularly busy evenings: You don't have time to cook but the family still gets a nutritious, home-cooked meal.
7. Make Time for Sit-Down Meals
As difficult as it can sometimes be, try your best to have at least one (preferably two) family sit-down meals a day. This is important for a few reasons. It helps strengthen the family bond--nothing brings people together like food! It also helps show children the importance of taking time to be with people they love. Family meals can also be good for picky eaters. The more they see their parents and siblings enjoying different foods together, the more likely they are to eventually try new things.