Helping your child eat healthier lunches and breakfasts on school days is one of the best back-to-school “supplies” you can provide. Studies suggest kids who eat “brain food” may have an educational advantage. Get a head start with our great tips.
It may arguably be the most important meal of the day. Studies suggest kids who eat breakfast:
- tend to have healthier diets
- may have improved short-term memory
- are more attentive
- are more energetic in the morning
- may have fewer discipline problems
Make a nutritional breakfast with these quick ideas:
- Spread peanut butter on a warmed whole-wheat tortilla. Fill it with sliced bananas or apples.
- Save time and enjoy great taste with a bowl of whole-grain cereal…amp up the nutrition with fruit on top or serve on the side.
- Toast a whole-wheat waffle. Spoon blueberries or strawberries over the top.
- Combine a favorite ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal with low-fat flavored yogurt instead of milk.
- Fill a whole-wheat pita bread pocket with scrambled eggs and salsa.
- Mix low-fat vanilla yogurt with a dash of cinnamon. Dip grapes, orange slices or kiwifruit slices.
Meals at School Have an Impact
As much as one-third of your child’s nutritional needs may be
eaten while he or she is at school. It’s important to know what to put
in those healthy lunches for kids or what the best breakfast for your
child is to keep them attentive and alert in the classroom. Serve and
encourage foods that feed your kids’ brains as well as their bodies.
Partner with your crew to put together healthy meals this school year.
Lunch: Baggers and Buyers
Whether your kids bring a brown bag lunch or buy, chances are they would love to have good-looking, great-smelling, incredibly tasty food. It can happen.
- Think color. Minimize the earth tones, and bring on a rainbow
of colors. The more hues and the brighter their intensity, the better
the meal. Select in-season fruits and vegetables.
- Think texture. Forget soft, squishy and nondescript. Try
crispy, crunchy, juicy, creamy and hearty. Succulent pears, sweet and
plump pea pods, round red grapes and mouthwatering apples answer that
call, and so too will whole-grain breads, roasted nuts, lightly salted
sunflower nuts, meaty soups, velvety puddings and fruity yogurts.
- Think differently. Look for ways to add surprise and delight
to the usual lunch fare. Anyone can have a cheese sandwich, so why not
spice it up with sliced cucumbers and a hummus spread?
- Or step out of the sandwich mode and try pretzel rods wrapped
in dill cream cheese and honey-roasted turkey slices, or pack pasta
salad with diced chicken, celery and a hint of curry. These kinds of
ideas should perk up any lackluster “lunchster.”
- Plan. Arrange lunches ahead of time—together. For baggers:
Design a week’s worth of lunch menus. For buyers: Review the school menu
and select “best choices.”
- Communicate. Talk about the good things healthy foods can do
for the body—things kids care about such as shiny hair, clear skin,
strength and muscle power.
- Practice. Reinforce healthy foods and snacks at home. Grocery shop together.
- Act. Talk with school staff about healthy cafeteria food. Several resources are available for enhancing school lunch programs.