This time of year, whether families are preparing to go back to school or already in the swing of a new school year, parents can always use a little help making sure they send their kids off for the best year yet. Juggling your kids’ busy schedules with your own can easily build up, from meetings to practice to homework all while getting dinner on the table each night, but that doesn’t mean parents have to revert to shortcuts when it comes to nutrition. There are plenty of better-for-you snack and meal options that can help families build healthy habits and provide the required nutrients.

As a working mom of two, I’m always looking for simple solutions like these to not only make the back to school transition easier on my own busy schedule, but to make sure I provide my kids with the proper snacks, meals and beverages that they like to eat and that will keep them fueled during all school activities from academics to athletics.

Now that my girls are teens, I’ve been doing the back to school routine for a while now, and like to think I’ve mastered the system – for the most part. The following tips have helped me along the way, so I’m sharing them in hopes that they will help other parents with kids of all ages feel confident that their kids are happy, healthy and ready to embark on their best school year yet. 

  1. Take your kid to the grocery store with you at the beginning of the school year and allow them to choose 2-3 of their favorite fruits for their lunches or have as a snack after school. Fruit is important for kids to properly fuel up and making kids part of the decision making process is a great way to create healthy habits and try new foods!
  2. Try incorporating protein into your kid’s lunch and snacks. Protein is important to a child’s diet to help them grow, build muscle and keep their immune system strong. I recommend new Juicy Juice + Protein, one of the first juice-protein blends on the market for kids, it’s perfect for snack time or between meals, throughout their busy days. 
  3. Make sure you include a variety of quality carbs, healthy fats, protein and fiber into your child’s after-school snacks for optimal fueling. One of my favorites for kids—my teens love it too—are peanut butter (or almond butter) and banana sandwiches with honey on whole wheat bread. Pro Tip: it’s also delicious toasted!
  4. Lower sugar juice options are ideal to avoid consuming too much sugar while also hydrating in a tasty way. A favorite of my two girls is new Juicy Juice Fruitifuls Organic, which is made with 45% less sugar than the leading juice while still providing half a cup of fruit in each 8 oz serving. It works well paired with nutritious meals before, during or after the school day.