Category Archives: Family Food Tips

Getting In Gear For Back To School

PencilsEvery parent I know looks for recipes for back to school (and recipes for everything else). I don’t usually spend too much time on lengthy recipes unless they are for specialty baking or a meal I can make and store for our family (think more than one dinner and leftover lunches).

Even then, I know what my family and I like and it cannot take too long to prepare. Nor can it include nuts, shellfish, or cheese. We have allergies and taste preferences in our family which don’t allow for these foods when we share a meal together.

Below, I’ve listed back to school recipes compiled in two different categories – snacks and lunches.

Nut Free Back to School Snacks:

Healthy Egg Muffins – Jenna Gorham, RD

Homemade Granola Bars – Rachael Costello, RD

3 Easy and Healthy Kid Friendly Snack Ideas – Crystal Karges, RD

No Added Sugar Banana Raisin Oatmeal Cups (walnuts optional) – Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD of Better is the New Perfect

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Power Bites – Vincci Tsui, RD

Healthy Gingersnap Pumpkin Mousse – Liz Weiss, RD of Liz’s Healthy Table

Snacks – Chelsey Amer, RD of C It Nutritionally

Sunflower Chocolate Chip Chickpea Bars – Sarah, RD of Bucket List Tummy

Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix – Abigail Joy Dougherty, RD of Soul of Health

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas 5 Ways – Amy Gorin, RD

Double Chocolate Chia Protein Bites – Sarah Remmer, RD

Flourless Chocolate Lentil Protein Muffins – Sarah Remmer, RD

The Easiest Oatmeal Muffins You’ll Ever Make – Sarah Remmer, RD

Healthy Baked Donuts – Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN of Real Nutrition NYC

Broccoli Hummus Snack Bites – Jennifer Hunt, RD

Back to School 3 Ingredient Yogurt Pouches – Betsy Ramirez, RD of Betsy’s Kitchen Table

Back to School Lunch Ideas:

Make Your Own Pizza – Sarah Pflugradt, RD of Salubrious RD

Mexicreamy Chicken Pinwheels – Sarah Pflugradt, RD of Salubrious RD

Make a Healthier Lunchable – Sylvia White, RD, CDE of Parenting Diabetes

5 Doable Bento Box Lunches – Jenna Braddock, RD of Make Healthy Easy

10 Terrific Alternatives to a Lunchbox Sandwich – Katie, RD of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

How to Pack a Lunch Box Apple – Katie, RD of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Superhero Lunchbox – Betsy Ramirez, RD of Betsy’s Kitchen Table

50 Easy & Nutritious School Lunch Recipes – Sarah Remmer, RD

7 Ways to Get Your Child to Eat Their School Lunch – Sarah Remmer, RD

School Lunch Roundup: Top Sanity-Saving Tips, Ideas, and Lists – Sarah Remmer, RD

Top 5 Lunchbox Gadgets – Jodi Danen, RD of Create Kids Club

125 Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids – Holley Grainger, MS, RD

Do eggs and back to school go together? Yes, they do! Read more on my back to school post for the Egg Nutrition Center here, including the most simple and quick recipe ever for making scrambled eggs before school. To end the summer, I’ve included my e-newsletters from the past two summers.

In 2015, I focused on my family’s nutritional choices and included many website and book resources on feeding your kids. You can find my 2015 e-newsletter here. In addition to the resources listed, a brand new book that I am loving on feeding babies and toddlers is called Born To Eat.

In 2016, my focus changed a bit to all the great career pieces I was able to focus on last summer and this post can be found here.

See you in the fall!

Is Nutrition an Assignment? How to keep ‘Back To School’ in your own lunchbox.

I have not yet sighed any relief from our kids being back in school. We’re still adjusting to three different school schedules in three different towns for our four children. What I always do plan are my nutrition choices – following my own 80/20 rule.


As I looked ahead to this fall I decided between the kids and my practice I was determined to keep making time for exercise that makes my body feel good. So, finally, I joined a doubles tennis league and I love it!

Every Wednesday morning after I drop my daughter off at school, I play an hour and a half of doubles with some great ladies, before getting to work. While I realize getting to play at all is a luxury and certainly something I could not entertain full time in the clinic – I have made it a priority.

When does nutrition go from priority to an assignment? If nutrition and eating healthfully are an assignment – judged by ourselves or others – how likely are we to stick to our best choices?

I often get asked what I eat. How do I stay fit. Full disclosure? Here we go…

I exercise at least 4-5 hours each week, and always have since age 15 or 16. Exercise helps me control my endless energy and some anxiety. And it makes me feel great about myself! For me, now in my mid-40’s, I include a mix of hot power yoga, doubles and singles tennis, weights, and other aerobic activity – like barre or a less impactful class. My joints are not what they used to be!

For eating, my body has also changed. My weight is higher than it was at a younger age – and I’m comfortable with it. My daily nutrition includes eating at least 5-6 times a day comprised of 3 meals and 2-3 snacks.

Breakfast is non-negotiable and varies daily. I love fresh baked goods from one of the local bakeries or coffee shops in town and can often be found stopping at one for a scone or a muffin. In my own ‘lunchbox’, if I’m home, it’s always eggs, a carbohydrate in the form of a whole grain, some cheese or hummus and likely a vegetable. Snacks are usually fruit – apples are a favorite this time of year – and this can vary with what’s in season. Because of the anaphylactic allergies we have at home to peanuts and tree nuts, I keep peanut butter in my office and consume quite a lot of it at work with fruit in the afternoons.

We eat dinners out about 1-2 times per week at one of our local restaurants and I cook the other nights. We are still getting our CSA delivery (community supported agriculture), which helps us have veggies ready to go. When I cook dinners for our family the balance is always protein (beef, chicken, turkey, fish, sausages), fat, carbs (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, pasta, risotto), and veggies – across the board. If there are leftovers I may take these in for lunch the next day or save them for our youngest who sometimes eats dinner earlier than the rest of us. Alternatively, one of the boys or my husband may eat this for lunch the next day.

Friday is always take out pizza, Cesar salad, then chocolate and wine. Wine in general for me is about 1-2 glasses on the weekend nights and maybe 1 with dinner during the week. I drink at least 2 liters of water a day and about 2-3 cups of tea – coffee just gives me more energy than I need. Occasionally, I will splurge on a large cookie from a local bakery…and a couple times a month I’ll order a cheeseburger and fries for a meal out. Nearly every night I do have chocolate as a treat – and usually from England as my husband brings it home for me from his travels.

What I have learned from the fat-free days to the gluten-free and sugar-free trends, is that our bodies change and nutrition choices needn’t be an assignment. Nutrition is best as a choice for nourishing, fueling, and feeding your body what works for your own energy, lifestyle, likes and dislikes.

September is always a great time of year to reset any New Year’s goals before holiday season quickly approaches. Making time to grocery shop, plan and prepare meals, and exercise as a balance need to be and stay a priority. Keeping your priorities in your own ‘lunchbox’ over making nutrition an assignment is your best bet.