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Get Back to School the Healthy Way

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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APTOS, Calif., Aug. 11 Back to school means busy times for many American families. With team practices, after-school activities, homework and more, hectic schedules can leave both students and their family so pressed for time that having a healthy dinner doesn't always seem like an option.

"When the busy school season starts, this is the time when students of all ages need to be making healthy food choices," said Sharon Palmer, RD, a registered dietician. "Kids are faced with challenging school work and busy schedules, which means they need to be eating the right foods that fuel their bodies and brains."

Pasta, enchiladas, chili and soups are family favorites which can be made ahead of time and served for dinner during the week to best fit any schedule. All of these entrees feature tomato products which offer important nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. And as an added benefit, the heating process of a processed tomato product provides an enhanced value of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight disease.

"We encourage parents to stock up on healthy tomato products like pasta sauces, canned tomatoes, salsa, soup, tomato paste and juice as they are an easy way to increase your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. They're versatile, inexpensive and nutritious staples to keep on-hand to make a quick snack or a wholesome meal," said Palmer.

There are many simple yet healthy options that are probably already in your kitchen pantry, such as:

For more information about the nutritional benefits of tomato products, visit www.tomatowellness.com.

The Tomato Products Wellness Council (TPWC) funds scientific research on tomato products and their link to helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Its members are tomato growers, processors and product manufacturers.

-- Tomato sauces, great for mini pizzas on English muffins after school -- Canned tomato soup, which pairs perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches -- Pre-seasoned stewed tomatoes and tomato puree perfect for a quick marinara sauce -- Jarred spaghetti sauce, always a fan favorite among kids, can be paired with elbow pasta or other different types to add some fun to the dinner plate

SOURCE Tomato Products Wellness Council
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