As summer vacation comes to a close and the school year approaches, get yourself back in the swing of healthy eating for the year. By preparing your children ahead of time, and discussing nutrition with them, they are more likely to make healthier choices at school. Healthy eating habits at home are huge influences for kids. It encourages them to make better choices during their day when you can’t be there.
It is important to always communicate with your kids, especially about nutrition. Keep them aware of the more healthy options that the school offers and things to avoid in the cafeteria. Make sure they know which foods are better for them and educate them on MyPlate, which can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov so they know about how to build healthy meals.
Collect a menu from the school. On the days where the vegetable side is listed as French fries, pack a bag of fresh veggies for your kids. Baby carrots, celery sticks, and fruit slices are always great options. Have your children tell you what they enjoy eating at school and plan a menu to satisfy both their wants as well as yours.
Consistency is key when teaching children to eat healthy. Stock up on healthy snacks. Fill your pantry with nuts, dried fruits, peanut or almond butter and kid friendly granola bars. Stock your fridge with cut up fruits and veggies for easy snacking and keep these near the front so they see them first. Also have a bowl of fruit readily available on your counter.
Designate a kitchen drawer for after-school snacks, and fill it with small bags of homemade trail mix, small pieces of dark chocolate and other healthy treats, and let children choose snacks at will. If you have a healthy snack ready-to-go after school, children will be more likely to eat it than forage for themselves.
Your children look up to you so be the healthy role model they need! Have and happy and of course healthy school year!
Your turn to take action: How do you plan on educating your children about nutrition during their day?