(August 16, 2011) – Horizon®, the leading organic dairy brand in the U.S., is providing parents with back to school tools and tips designed to help them get their kids off to a nutritious start as they head back to the classroom. The tools range from advice on back to school healthy eating habits and food choices to an online community for parents to connect and discuss back to school topics.
When it comes to healthy eating at back to school time, Horizon has partnered with Dr. Alan Greene M.D., F.A.A.P.[i], a noted pediatrician, author and nationally-recognized expert in organic nutrition to develop a “Top 10 Best Back to School Foods List.” The list includes recommendations for nutritious foods valuable for a well-rounded diet for growing kids.
“A new school year provides a great opportunity for parents to teach their kids how to make nutritious choices throughout the day,” said Dr. Greene. “Whether starting the day off with organic milk or packing school lunches with lots of fruits and veggies, making a conscious choice to focus on nutrition as kids return to the classroom can start with a few, simple choices at the grocery store.”
Top 10 Best Back to School Foods:
1. Organic Milk
With only 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 4 boys meeting their calcium needs[ii], it’s important to keep calcium-rich foods front and center in kids’ diets. Organic milk, which is produced without the use of antibiotics, toxic synthetic pesticides or artificial growth hormones, is a great choice for lunchboxes and breakfast time. Horizon makes convenient single serve milk boxes that pack perfectly into lunchboxes and provide a nutrient-rich alternative to juice drinks and other nutrient-poor beverages. In addition, Horizon organic milk with DHA omega-3 is a good choice for breakfast beverages or paired with low-sugar, whole grain cereals. DHA omega-3 has been shown to support brain, heart and eye health[iii][iv][v].
2. Whole Grain Bread
The new U.S. Dietary Guidelines[vi] recommend that at least half of our grains be whole grains, so choosing whole grains for lunchbox sandwiches and wraps is a smart strategy to boost fiber and other important nutrients. One good choice is Rudi’s Organic Bakery’s 14 Grain Bread. With just three slices you get the daily recommended allowance of whole grains.
3. Trail Mix Fixings
A variety of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates), nuts[vii] (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios) and cereal (look for those high in fiber and low in sugar) can combine into one hearty snack-on-the-go for kids. Plus, you can make an activity out of letting your kids create their very own one-of-a-kind mix.
4. Nut Butter
Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter – they’re all great for lunchtime sandwiches or on toast for an after-school snack.7
This protein-packed spread comes in a wide variety of flavors and even in single-serve packs for kids on-the-go. You can try it as a dip for veggies and whole-grain crackers or as a spread on wraps and sandwiches as a nutritious alternative to mayonnaise or dressing.
6. Granola Bars
Granola bars can be a lower-sugar, higher-fiber alternative to cookies and candy bars. They are also great as after-school or after-sports snacks. Look for granola bars made with whole grains and with 10 grams of sugar or less. One bar that fits this criteria is Annie’s Organic Berry Berry Granola Bars. Each bar is packed with 8 grams of whole grain per serving, is certified organic and contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. They’re a perfect snack to replace high-sugar treats.
7. Turkey Breast
Turkey breast is low in fat and high in protein, and it can be a crowd pleaser in the lunchroom! You can also get creative with turkey as part of after-school snacks – think turkey and cheese roll-ups.
8. String Cheese
Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. If your child isn’t a meat eater, cheese is another high-protein option for lunches and snack time. String cheese is a great way to help your kids play with their food by pulling apart the cheese – and they will love munching on it too.
9. Fruit, Fruit, Fruit
Apples, cherries, bananas, oranges, grapes – fruits are an important part of a well-balanced diet. Try and vary what you offer. Different fruits provide different nutrients. When looking for organic fruit options, check out Earthbound Farm, which offers a number of organic fruit products nationwide, ranging from apple slices to strawberries to grapes, citrus and blueberries.
10. Veggies, Veggies, Veggies
Veggies like carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, pea pods and cherry tomatoes are all great for lunchboxes and after-school snacks. Remember, the darker the veggie, the more nutritious it tends to be. To spice veggies up, you can think about serving them with a low fat salad dressing or hummus as a dip. In addition to organic fruit, Earthbound Farm also offers a full range of organic veggie products.
“Partnering with Dr. Greene to help parents make nutritious choices at back to school time is part of Horizon’s commitment to supporting healthy families,” said Mike Ferry, Horizon president. “Back to school is a great time for parents to not only ensure their family is getting the nutrition they need, but also to help educate their kids about nutritious food choices, and we are happy to help support parents in these efforts this year.”
The “Top 10 Best Back to School Foods” list is part of a “Horizon’s Toolbox for Mom” Facebook application on Horizon’s Facebook page. The toolbox contains news, offers and advice to support parents as the school year begins. It also has a lunchbox randomizer, which provides parents with ideas for healthy school lunches.
In addition to the “Horizon’s Toolbox for Mom” application, Horizon has launched a “Healthy Families Back to School” online community where parents can connect on topics ranging from money-saving back to school tips to ideas for fun ways to get kids ready to head back to the classroom.
About Horizon Organic
Horizon is committed to providing great-tasting, organic dairy products that nourish families and build healthy foundations. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Horizon is proud to be an organic industry pioneer and the first company to supply organic milk nationally. Over the past 20 years, Horizon has grown to become not only the leading organic dairy brand in the U.S., but the largest national organic brand in the country. Today, Horizon works with more than 600 family farmers across the country to supply 94 percent of its organic milk. Horizon offers a delicious variety of certified organic dairy products made with simple ingredients and produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or pesticides. In an effort to protect the earth and its natural resources, Horizon offsets the energy used to produce its products with clean, renewable wind power. For more information about Horizon, visit www.horizonorganic.com. Horizon is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Horizon and Twitter at http://twitter.com/horizondairy.
[i] Dr. Greene consults with and is paid a fee by WhiteWave Foods.
[ii] Bailey RL et al. Estimation of Total Usual Calcium and Vitamin D intakes in the United States. J Nutr 2010; 140: 817-822.
[iii] FDA Qualified Health Claim for Omega-3 Fatty Acids and CHD. Docket No. 2003Q-0401, September 8, 2004.
[iv] McCann JC and Ames BN. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 82: 281-95.
[v] Birch EE et al. Early Human Development 2007; 83, 279–284.
[vi] U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, US Dept of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th Ed.
[vii] For classrooms without severe nut allergies.