In the Zone: Healthy Eating with La

I consider the entire month of September “back-to-school” time for my kids and for me, too. And you know what that means: Back to our regular schedules, reasonable bed times (for them), and balanced meals (that aren’t followed by big slabs of cake). I asked my friend La for some ideas on how to make snacking more fun and more delicious, whether it’s for the kids at the end of a long school day or an afternoon pick-me-up for yours truly. —M.S.

Most of the parents I know tend to complain that they eat unhealthy fully because of their kids. My golden rule:Everyone in the house should be eating healthy, not just the grownups. Here are some cool ideas to get the entire family eating better.

Mix it up. Smoothies are great for concealing tons of vitamins and veggies into a single, simple meal and/or snack. You can use low-fat milk or yogurt and include vegan-based ingredients, like chia seeds, nut butters, and berries, for an added punch of protein and flavor.

Take a dip. I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love to dip their food into something. So, cut up some veggies like carrots, cucumbers, or red peppers and serve them with some homemade hummus (this recipe from Parents magazine is quick and easy). Another fun dipping alternative: homemade guacamole (Skinny taste’s recipe is great) and bean chips, and nut butter with fresh apple slices, strawberries, or bananas. Kids and parents will love it!

Hit the trail. Nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips combined and portioned out into mini snack bags make it easy and delicious for kids to fuel up when everyone’s on the go.

Bake it. Homemade carrot or zucchini muffins are delicious and so fun to make with the kids. Check out this easy, breezy recipe from Super Healthy Kids.

Chill out. Who doesn’t love a popsicle? And when they’re homemade, they can be super healthy and delicious, too. Combine fresh or frozen strawberries, beets, apple juice, and lemon juice in a blender, and puree all ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold (these are so fun) and freeze for four hours.