Take Your Food Budget to School

by Stacy Lazar

School is back in session, which for many moms means it’s time to start stocking your kitchens with ingredients that make for easy lunches and dinners.

Gone are the days of tuna on white bread. Today, parents are expected to fill their shopping carts—and children’s lunchboxes—with lean meats, whole grains and good fats. As Registered Dietitian and Zeel Expert Laura Cipullo knows, however, not all health foods are created equal; and supermarket aisles are ripe with seemingly nutritious items that aren’t as wholesome as they appear.

What’s a mom to do? Laura, an authority on weight loss, weight maintenance and portion control, arms us with 8 simple rules for making smart choices at the supermarket—and sending the kids off to school with the healthiest of lunches and snacks.

1. Bread: Look for whole-wheat bread with the fewest number of ingredients. More importantly, each slice should contain at least 3g of fiber.

2. Meat: Whether chicken, turkey or beef,  choose a package that’s 90 percent lean or more. When possible, choose organic meats.

3. Cereal: Captain Crunch or Cocoa Puffs? Not quite. Avoid animated cereal boxes that appeal to children—you know, the ones with toys at the bottom of the bag. Check the ingredients label to confirm that your chosen brand has at least 5g of fiber in order to keep the kids full until lunchtime.

4. Pasta: Seek out whole-grain varieties. Depending on your portion size, be sure you’re getting 5 grams of fiber for every 2 oz of pasta.

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5. Fruit: Most apples and other kinds of fruit are actually slightly larger than a single serving. To avoid overeating, choose ones that are a tad smaller than the rest of the barrel. Purchase unripe fruit so it lasts throughout the week, saving you an extra trip to the market.

6. Treats: You don’t have to ditch every last morsel of junk food, but processed foods like chips, cookies and candy should never have more than 2g of saturated fat. When it comes to children’s palates, Laura emphasizes the importance of creating a neutral mindset toward all food, meaning it may still be okay to purchase less nutritious items, so long as Mom takes responsibility to teach their child that Yodels, Doritos and sugary sports drinks should not be consumed every day. (Laura calls these “sometimes” foods.)

7. Frozen Entrée: All moms need a backup on especially busy evenings. When work, social obligations and shuttling the kids to and from sports makes it impossible to whip up a five-star meal, frozen entrees may seem like the next best option. Note that even healthier brands are loaded with salt, so avoid TV dinners containing more than 600mg of sodium per serving.

8. Nuts: Nuts and nut butters make for a great after-school snack. Because even adorable snack-packs can exceed a single serving, it’s a good idea to buy individual bags of almonds to prevent one too many handfuls. Six to 8 almonds are ideal.

About Zeel

Zeel makes finding and booking appointments with qualified health & wellness professionals straightforward, fast and easy. Active in 12 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago, Zeel is home to a nationwide network health & wellness professionals, including massage therapists in North Jersey, New Jersey chiropractors, registered dietitians, acupuncturists and other health & wellness professionals. Browse profiles of qualified Zeel professionals, compare profiles & prices, check real-time appointment availability, and book online instantly. Find us at zeel.com.

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