Top 3 Tips - And 1 Great Recipe – for a Healthy Back-to-School Season

By Robin Plotkin, RD, LD, Welch’s Health & Nutrition Advisory Panel Member

This time of year is bittersweet for many parents. The lazy days of summer are fading fast – they’re being replaced with early bedtimes, early rise times, schedules, backpacks, homework and after-school activities. 

The end of summer also marks a heightened awareness of the importance of nutritious and healthy meals and snacks for children. We tend to be more lax with the amount of empty calories allowed during the summer months. As a result, the transition back to healthy behaviors can be a challenge. 

Here are my top 3 tips for making the transition as smooth as possible:

  1. Start now Don’t wait until the first day of school to reintroduce the foods that were a regular part of your child’s diet during the school year. 
  2. Give choices – It’s as simple as “Do you want this, or do you want that?” Allowing kids to be part of the decision-making process provides buy-in and more likelihood of a happier outcome.
  3. Make the food taste GOOD It doesn’t matter how nutritious a food or recipe is if your child refuses to eat it. 

These No-Bake Sweet & Salty Snack Bars combine ingredients that deliver nutrients, including plant nutrients (or polyphenols) from the Welch’s 100% Grape Juice and dark chocolate chips, protein from the almond butter (any nut butter can be substituted) fiber from the oat flour and garbanzo bean flour (whole wheat or wheat flour can be substituted), and healthy fats from the walnuts.  

Kids love the fact that they recognize the ingredients and can taste the actual flavors of the foods they love when they bite into these bars. These can be made ahead and frozen — just slice and store when ready.  These are perfect for on-the-go breakfasts, a sweet lunchbox item or a hearty after-school snack.