They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but good nutrition all day long is the key to a healthy body and mind. When children are well-nourished, they have the fuel to be at their best and perform at their peak.
Healthy food provides the needed nutrients to keep a child’s mind sharp, alert, and ready to learn. That’s why we must instill healthy eating habits into our kids. And the earlier we start, the better they’ll fare. Learning to love wholesome foods and choosing good food over junk is important for a lifetime of health and prosperity.
When kids are well-fed and have a steady stream of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals delivered into their system all day long, they won’t get those nagging hunger pangs or headaches, and will be able to concentrate to focus on their schoolwork rather than being sidetracked by thoughts of when their next snack or meal will be. It is important that they eat regularly all day long rather than having just one big meal which could make them tired or too full at once. Most schools have lunch and snack time which is great for keeping that constant fuel stream flowing steadily.
Before the school day begins, a well-balanced breakfast is key, full of fresh fruit, whole-grain oats, some protein, and some fat. Skip the juice and go for a real piece of fruit instead. It is more filling and provides healthy fiber. Too much sugar may feel energizing at first, but that crash will come by the time your kid gets to school. Complex carbs are key, not simple sugars that provide little nutrition. Go for whole grain toast with scrambled eggs, a whole grain cereal with milk, or even a yogurt and fruit smoothie with some veggies slipped in for extra nutrition. Many on-the-go breakfast or protein bars are quite nutritious as well.
Pack a healthy lunch which includes veggies, whole grains, protein, and some fat. Consider making a whole wheat wrap filled with turkey or chicken and fresh veggies like spinach and peppers. Perhaps your kid loves salad, so prepare one in a takeaway container and pack the low-fat dressing on the side so it doesn’t get too soggy. Soup in a Thermos is always delicious as well. An apple or pear makes for a great snack, as does Greek yogurt or a handful of mixed nuts. Be sure to include snacks for a midday break too. Dried fruit is always a favorite as is string cheese with whole grain crackers.
When kids are healthy, they are happy and ready to take on the day. Their minds will be open for learning and their bodies will be energized with stamina for all they need to conquer throughout the day.
How do you make sure your child is well-nourished? Does your child’s school or daycare provide healthy meals and snacks?
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By: Melissa A. Kay