As children head back to school, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to celebrate Kids Eat Right Month™ by ensuring children are properly fueled to grow and succeed.
"The start of the new school year coincides with Kids Eat Right Month providing the perfect opportunity to revamp your families' eating habits," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Caroline Passerrello. "Feed kids nutritious meals and give them proper tools to make healthful eating choices, which will benefit them now and as they grow into adults."
Build a Better Breakfast
Start off the day, and the school year, on the right foot by taking time to feed your child a wholesome breakfast. Research shows that children who don't eat breakfast have a harder time concentrating and are less productive than those who do eat breakfast.
"Choose breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber and protein while low in added sugar," Passerrello says. "Some options include toast with peanut butter and banana or oatmeal with fruit and raisins."
Pack a Satisfying Lunch
"Send your child to school with a healthy lunch packed with the nutrients they need to learn and concentrate," Passerrello says. "Include lean protein, fruits or vegetables, whole grains and dairy. For example, pack a turkey and low-fat cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread with a bunch of grapes."
It is also imperative to follow proper food safety practices to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Remind children to refrigerate their lunch within two hours. If the child won't have access to a refrigerator, pack lunch in an insulated cooler with plenty of icepacks.
Make Time for Dinner
At the end of the day, sit down for a family dinner. Enjoy a healthful meal and cherish the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another. Research indicates that families who eat together have a stronger bond, and their children have higher self-confidence and perform better in school.
"If after-school hours are hectic and you don't have time for a homemade meal, prep meals on the weekend and simply reheat the night of," Passerrello says.
For more healthful eating tips, recipes, videos and to learn more about Kids Eat Right Month, visit www.KidsEatRight.org.