Keep Health in Mind When Planning School Day Menus For Your Kids

As a parent preparing for your child’s school day, it may be helpful to remember that healthy meals and snacks are essential for learning. Here are some helpful tips from the experts at HealthDay News:

“Parents can make the school day easier for their children by providing nutritious and yummy breakfasts, lunches and snacks that promote optimal learning. Everyone is in a rush in the morning, but it only takes a few minutes on Sunday to plan healthy meals to fuel your child’s week,” Karin Richards, director of the Exercise Science and Wellness Management program, and director of Health Sciences at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, said in a university news release.

Richards offered the following advice for parents as they plan breakfast, lunch and snacks for their school-age children:

  • Include at least three types of foods into each meal, making sure to include some type of protein and complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bagels or pasta. The complex carbohydrates will provide energy while the protein will satisfy your child’s appetite for a longer period of time.
  • Bring your child to the market with you and let him or her choose one fruit or vegetable each week. Encourage kids to try new and interesting produce such as kiwi, papaya and edamame.
  • Monitor portion size. Three to four ounces of meat (about the size of your palm) is plenty. Adjust the amount based on your child’s age and activity level.
  • Add more vegetables into your child’s diet, even if you have to sneak them in. For example, try zucchini bread, veggies with low-fat dip, or shred carrots into tomato sauce and soups.
  • For beverages, suggest no-fat milk or water. If you child prefers juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice.

Many types of standard lunch fare are packed with calories and fat. But there are healthier alternatives that can make for a more nutritious lunch. The Nemours Foundation suggests these healthier lunch options:

  • Turkey and other low-fat deli meats.
  • Whole grain bread — instead of white — spread with mustard or light mayo.
  • Vegetables and dip, air-popped popcorn, and trail mix or baked potato chips, in place of fried potato chips.
  • Fresh fruit or packaged fruit in natural juices, instead of syrup.
  • Yogurt or a homemade fruit-filled muffin, in place of packaged cakes or cookies.
  • No-fat milk or water, in place of sodas or sugary fruit drinks.

For More information From The Nemours Foundation About Children And Healthy Eating click here.

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