(Family Features) During the busy school year, it can be a challenge to maintain sound nutrition and quality together time for the entire family. By planning ahead and making resolutions about smart snack and meal choices, it's easier to have everyone reconnect, recharge and relax.
Often times a more casual evening provides the best opportunity to reconnect. Here are some tips for making the most of those treasured after-school hours.
- Families that eat together, grow together. Regular family dinners have long been touted as an important component of a well-rounded childhood. Include everyone during dinner prep by having them set the table or prepare a side salad. For those hectic weeknights, Stouffer's Farmers' Harvest family-size entrées offer whole grain goodness and high quality ingredients for a delicious, wholesome dinner. For more mealtime ideas and to sign up for dinner club awards, visit www.stouffers.com.
- Think outside the bag. Take lunchtime as an opportunity to teach your children about nutrition and help them pack their lunches the night before. Reinforce good eating habits by encouraging them to create a well-balanced meal that they'll enjoy. Think of combining proteins, fruit, and whole grains to keep them energized. A trail mix snack made with Nestlé Raisinets provides real fruit antioxidants and 30% less fat than the leading chocolate brands. Or for a special treat, try this Whole-Wheat Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies recipe made with Nestlé Toll House Dark Chocolate Morsels. It has the chocolate taste kids love, and the addition of grated zucchini and whole-wheat flour make it mom-approved.
- Make every sip count. What your kids are drinking daily has a big impact on overall nutrition. Made from 100% fruit juice with no added sugar, Nestlé Juicy Juice 100% Juice is a delicious, easy way for you to ensure your kids get at least one of their daily recommended servings of fruits*. Pack their favorite flavor in their lunchbox and check out www.juicyjuice.com for product information, tips and recipes.
Keep savings in mind
In addition to a fast-paced schedule, picking up those much-needed supplies for the academic year can get costly. Enter Nestlé Family's "Happy New School Year" sweepstakes to help make the transition easier. One lucky family will receive a grand prize of $5,000 for school essentials and a $2,000 Nestlé Literacy Grant to the winner's school of choice**. Every day you enter is a chance to win the grand prize, as well as a daily prize of a $50 gift card.
For more inspiration and ideas on nourishing healthy, happy families during the school year, visit www.NestleFamily.com/ABC.
*Majority of daily fruit intake should come from whole fruit.
**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Must be a legal resident of the 50 U.S. States and D.C., 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes starts 12:00:01 a.m. PT on 8/1/11 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. PT on 10/15/11. Subject to full official rules, entry requirements and prize details at NestleFamily.com/backtoschool.