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June 2015 / Bronx/​Riverdale Family / Brooklyn Family / Long Island Family / Manhattan Family / Queens Family / Staten Island Family

How to streamline a healthy meal

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Preparing breakfast and lunch for kids can be tricky, not to mention time consuming. As the executive chef of the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, I am responsible for making sure 600 charges eat healthy and well-balanced meals every day.

Below are five simple tips to make preparing nutritious and tasty meals easy, so you can streamline the process and incorporate healthy eating seamlessly into your child’s day.

Feed their brains for breakfast! Glucose provides fuel to the brain. Without it, our brains simply don’t operate as well. Foods like beans, steel-cut oats, and hearty whole grains provide the most steady and prolonged sources of glucose.

Don’t be as boring as toast! Whole grain toast is quite possibly the quickest and easiest breakfast to prepare. Don’t be limited by butter and jam! Try topping whole-wheat bread or an English muffin with:

• 1/4 of an avocado (another food that promotes brain health!)

• Cream cheese and fresh berries

• Nut or seed butter, bananas, and chia seeds

• Celery, raisins, and nut or seed butter

• Ricotta cheese, pears, and a drizzle of honey sea salt

Pick up a bento box. They come in all shapes, sizes, and designs. The lunch boxes are separated into compartments — making controlling portion sizes and getting in daily recommended values a cinch. Not only that, it makes meals visually pleasing, which always encourages young ones to eat!

Let your children help you pack lunch the night before. Studies show time and time again that children are more willing to eat or try something that they took part in preparing. It’s a great way to spend time together, teach new skills, and encourage healthy and adventurous eaters.

Plan ahead. Turn dinners into lunches easily with a little planning. Examples: bacon on Sunday morning = BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) on whole wheat for lunch. Chicken for dinner? Grill an extra breast and make chicken salad. Had corn and zucchini for your vegetable for dinner? Turn your side dish into corn and zucchini whole-wheat fritters, using whole-wheat pancake batter and stirring in the leftover veggies.

Jenny Gensterblum is the author of the cookbook “Secret Sauce: Kid Tested and Approved Recipes from the Léman Manhattan Chef’s Vault” now available at Blurb.com.

Posted 12:00 am, June 7, 2015
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