It’s that time of the year again—when football season officially starts, the kids go back to school, shopping for new notebooks and clothes commences, traffic on the streets is a bit more congested and school lunches make a reappearance.
Whether you and your kids slacked off a little in the summer (and who can blame you since the LA heat tends to induce a coma-like ice-cream eating state) or whether healthy eating has always been a family tenet, the end of summer marks a good time to reassess your family’s eating habits and get them back on track. I know this is especially challenging when you’re making breakfast while dragging kids out of bed, gathering their homework, getting them dressed and off to school in time. Not to mention all of the football viewing festivities—which usually means going to our local sports bar or having friends over to the house—often riddled with fried and highly processed unhealthy food options.
Let’s be honest, most of us are juggling demanding jobs with cooking family meals, taking care of the kids, after school activities, spending quality time with our partners and the occasional family outing or fun activity. With so much to do and such tight schedules, many people simply reach for the fast and easy food options that will satisfy their kids. I myself am guilty of this—and guilty is the right word here, since I know that regularly feeding my kids unhealthy foods makes them more susceptible to obesity, being ridiculed at school and childhood diabetes.
What I’ve learned through the years is that it is possible to eat healthier foods and not feel like you or your kids are being deprived of meals that satiate the tummy and please the taste buds. Here are some tips to help you and your family make healthier food choices during this busy and exciting time:
- Healthy snack foods for football games and after-school bites should include lots of crunchy vegetables (think sugar snap peas, baby carrots, celery, jicama) and hummus.
- Keep cut up veggies on hand and ready to put out or just snack on when needed.
- Frozen foods aren’t what they used to be—check out the new, healthier offerings in the frozen food section at the local Gelson’s or Bristol Farms.
- Get the kids involved! While I don’t advocate child labor, I do think it makes cooking fun and gives them an active role, which is always a coup.