JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first day of school is quickly approaching and it’s time to start planning healthy meals for your children to fuel their brains for the school day.
During the summer, it’s really easy to allow well-balanced eating to fall by the wayside. But one of the most important things nutritionists say parents can do heading into the school year is start thinking about preparing healthy meals and teaching your kids how to eat right.
Yogurt, peanut butter, and baked goldfish are just a few of the simple snacks nutrition expert, Judith Rodriguez says are healthy picks to fuel kids during the school day.
“It really is important to make sure that children are eating balanced meals for a variety of reasons,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
Proper nutrition heading into the school year is important for a child’s development. It also helps them function at their best in the classroom and learn lifelong healthy habits.
Dr. Rodriguez says one common mistake most parents make is packing unbalanced meals particularly high in sugar.
Healthy lunch ideas
Look at having certain components in their lunch to make sure it’s balanced.
“Something that has protein and then something will have perhaps calcium and some of the vitamins,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
A well-balanced lunch might include a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread for protein and carbohydrates. Include an apple to get the right vitamins and a cheese stick for calcium.
“If they stick to that by default they’ll have decreased the sugar and it doesn’t become a sort of you can’t rather than you can with all these other things that are in there,” Dr. Rodriguez said. These good guidelines will instill healthy habits for years to come.
Follow these similar guidelines for breakfast and dinner, even if you are on the go.
If you want to pack something sweet, Dr. Rodriguez suggests something that provides some nutritional value like a granola bar or a small cookie, like a raisin cookie.