Healthy Habits for a Healthy School Year

The start of a new school year is often a chaotic time for a family. As we wind down from summer fun and relaxation, it can be a challenging transition from our summer schedule to a new academic year packed with school, homework, activities, work, volunteering and other commitments. When we feel stressed and rushed to manage everything on our plates, it’s easy to put cooking on the bottom of our priority list and opt for more convenient choices that may be less healthy. While it’s completely understandable that families need quick and effortless ways to get meals on the table and prepared for school, it’s essential that kids are nourished throughout the day. Without adequate nutrition, kids struggle to perform well in their classes and other activities. Proper nutrition is also important for healthy growth and development. While cooking can seem overwhelming, there are tons of easy recipes for snacks and breakfast to fuel kids throughout the day. Below is an examples of one of our favorite recipes that make it possible to have healthy grab and go items on hand. We wish everyone a healthy and happy start to the school year!

Gorilla Tip: Prep recipes on Sunday as a family! This gets kids involved in the process, and makes it easy to eat healthy when you are in a rush during the week. A Win-Win!

Easy Overnight Oats Recipe

Directions: Place ½ cup raw oats and ½ cup liquid (milk, water, ect) into a mason jar or other container. Place the jar in the refrigerator overnight. The jar will be ready to eat in the morning- no cooking needed!

Recipe Upgrade: This recipe can be modified by adding your favorite toppings! Some favorites include cinnamon, seeds, nuts, fruit, honey, yogurt, granola, peanut butter, and cocoa powder. Add these toppings before placing the oats in the refrigerator, or in the morning. Not only do these toppings add flavor, but they also provide added nutrition!

-- Samara Shein, UIC Dietetic Intern