Published in the Sept. 16-29, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Tracee Gluachaich

Tracee Gluhaich

Summer is coming to an end and this time of year is oh so bittersweet because it is definitely my favorite season. The only good part is the kids are going back in school and we moms can achieve some household order.

Frequently, friends and clients here in the South Valley ask me for healthy food ideas for their children’s lunches. I stress to them that the most important thing is young people eat a healthy breakfast with protein and “good-for-you” fats, not the boxed cereal so many of them want.

The most popular cereal is Honey Nut Cheerios. The box implies this is a healthy choice as “it can help lower cholesterol” and claims “whole grain first ingredient.”

But take a closer look and you’ll see that one 3/4-cup serving contains 9 grams of sugar. I did a test and filled up one of our cereal bowls. Then I took out a 3/4-cup-measuring cup and backed the cereal out of the bowl. Boy, was I shocked to see that there were three servings in that bowl, adding up to 27 grams of sugar. And when you add a cup of milk at 13 grams of sugar, you are up to 40 grams. This is more sugar than a can of Coke.

My breakfast of choice would be a smoothie or oatmeal and eggs. The funny thing is my middle son has this meal every single morning. You can even make little egg cups or healthy pancakes on the weekend and simply heat them up in the morning.

For lunches and snacks, I prefer foods such as fruit, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, chicken burrito bowls, and taco salad. Instead of purchasing deli meat, which is often full of nitrites and nitrates, roast a couple of whole chickens, cut the meat off and store it for sandwiches and bowls. Then use the carcasses to make chicken soup or broth.

If cooking is not your thing, and you must purchase pre-packaged items, you are in luck. Nob Hill does a splendid job showcasing natural food products in their store.

Their organic section is quite large, and every end cap at the front of the store is stocked with natural foods. This makes it easier for moms to navigate their children through the store.

Many people are concerned with calories. But trumping that is micro-nutrients — such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Children have small stomachs and we must make every bite count so we don’t fill them up with empty calories.

I am primarily a whole foodist and prefer eating local, in season, and organic as often as possible. We are so fortunate to have an amazing farmers’ market in downtown Morgan Hill every Saturday where we can pick up reasonably priced fruits and vegetables, which meet the above criteria.

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Morgan Hill also has a community garden, where residents can rent a small plot and grow their own vegetables. Let me tell you, there is nothing like homegrown produce. When I pick from my garden, I often eat things right off the vine.

Please join us Sept. 9 for a showing of “Overfed & Undernourished,” at 6:30 p.m. at the Centennial Recreation Center. Every guest will receive a pass to the CRC and you can take one of my classes.

You can find plenty of kid friendly recipes on the blog at www.highenergygirl.com.

Tracee Gluhaich is a local health coach and personal trainer. Check out her website at www.highenergygirl.com. She wrote this for Morgan Hill Life.