Welcome to the Back-to-School Green Meals page! Back to school is the perfect opportunity to encourage children and families to develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. On this page, you will find recipes, snack ideas, lunch box notes, and more to get you started.
Healthy Back-to-School Meals
Crisp apples, sweet potatoes, ripe raspberries, and perfect pumpkins: Fall into autumn with healthy back-to-school meals! The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has awarded more than $4.2 million in federal funds to more than 180 Maryland elementary schools across the state to help children build lifelong healthy eating habits. The funds, made available by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), expand student access to fresh fruits and vegetables in participating schools.
What’s in Season?
October is National #FarmtoSchool Month! Governor Larry Hogan has designated October 4-8, 2021, as Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week. Consider buying locally-grown food from grocery stores, wholesale markets, restaurants, farmers markets, roadside stands, or pick your own fresh fruit and veggies.
At home, school or program, choose healthy green meals! To get you started, try some USDA-recommended fall recipes!
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pita Pizzas
- Healthy Carrot Cake Cookies
- Baked Acorn Squash with Apples
- Peanutty Stew
How do you make healthy school lunches?
Avocado, Peanut Butter, or Greek Yogurt: Spread a little Magic! Create a stackable work of art together as a family. Go green with romaine, lettuce, or arugula. It’s an opportunity to practice perfect stacking just in time for back-to-school lunch.
- Ultimate Veggie Sandwich
- Taco-Style Back To School Sandwiches
- Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese
- Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches
- Sandwich on a Stick
What are the healthiest back-to-school meals?
Let’s face it. We don’t always make the best meal choices during the summer. It’s the family outings to barbecues, festivals, amusement parks, and state fairs. According to a recent survey, comfort food also made a big comeback during the spread of COVID-19.
“When things are uneasy, it’s the little joys that get us through, whether that’s FaceTiming with family and friends or stronger bonds made over home cooked meals,” Ciera Womack, Farm Rich Senior Marketing Manager, said in a press release.”
Among the 2,000 Americans polled, Farm Rich and OnePoll found that two in three people ate more comfort food during the pandemic, including pizza (55%), hamburgers (48%), ice cream (46%), and French fries (45%).
- The Comfort Food Comeback (video)
The Back-To-School Green Meals Challenge!
- Take the MFE Back-To-School Green Meals Challenge (video)
- Stress Management Tips for Children: A Healthy Diet (video)
Get a boost of energy just in time for back to school. Research shows that eating healthy meals can help manage anxiety and improve children’s moods. Take the Challenge! Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner, try adding two greens to two meals daily for 30 days.
- Challenge Your Kids To Get Their Food Facts First (Tips for Parents). As a parent, you can help your kids learn about nutrition and establish healthy dietary habits. It’s easy to talk about food choices throughout the day.
- Healthy Eating on a Budget. To get the most for your dollar, follow helpful tips by MyPlate as you shop at your favorite grocery store.
- Lunch Box Notes. Cheer your children on, offer encouragement and make them smile even when you cannot be there in person with these free, printable sets of lunch box notes.
- Meal Planning. Healthy eating is important at every age. MyPlate recommends families eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy or fortified soy alternatives. When planning meals, MyPlate also recommends that you choose options that are full of nutrients and limited in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.
- What’s for Dinner Tonight? Discover nutrition tips, fun and creative recipes, and more with The MFE Nutrition Collection on the resources page.