Educators have been telling us for a long time that hungry kids can’t concentrate on learning. Studies show that good nutrition plays a key role in a child’s performance in school. Kids who are well-nourished come to school each day ready to learn and do better in class.
Getting kids to eat well, however, sometimes seems impossible to many parents, especially those who are dealing with picky eaters or kids who demand the junk food they see advertised on TV commercials.
Our guest blogger today is Rebecca Zaslow who holds two titles. At ATD-AMERICAN, Rebecca is our Vice-President of Marketing. At home, she’s Mom to Zoey and Guston.
Rebecca has been working to teach Zoey and Guston about healthy eating and she would like to share a few of her ideas with parents trying to instill healthy eating habits in their own children.
1. Breakfast Starts the Day off Right – Skipping breakfast is never a good idea. Kids who start the day with a healthy breakfast are more alert in the classroom. Mornings are a busy time in most homes, though, and it can be a challenge to get kids to eat a healthy breakfast and still get out the door in time for school.
A quick and easy breakfast can still be healthy. A good breakfast for children would be whole grain toast, an egg and some fruit. If you have a picky eater, whole grain toast or an organic whole grain cereal with some fruit is a good alternative. Another great choice is a yogurt smoothie with either fresh fruit (the ideal choice) or frozen fruit. These are the types of food that will keep your child full and focused until lunch.
2. Even Kids Need a Power Lunch – Lots of schools do their best to provide nutritious lunches for school children, but it costs a lot of money and most kids don’t always want to eat the healthier foods. Many schools also offer speedy quick food, greasy pizzas, French fries and other low-quality foods alongside the healthy lunch selections.
One of the most important things parents can teach their kids is the importance of eating nutritious foods at lunchtime (really at all times). Hopefully, with your help and example, they will choose healthier salads, vegetables instead of French fries, and water instead of soda.
If you worry about how your kids eat at lunchtime, you can always pack a healthy lunch. If you do pack a lunch, make sure you get them involved in selecting what goes into the lunch box. That way they’re more likely to actually eat it instead of throwing it away and filling up on junk food.
3. Re-Charge with After School Snacks – After a long day at school, a light after-school snack is the perfect way to refuel before study time. Keep a variety of healthy snacks on hand and easily accessible so your kids get used to reaching for them instead of “empty-calorie” snacks like cookies, candy or chips.
Some good healthy rebuilding energy snacks for your kids include nuts, fruit (for example apples, grapes etc.), carrots with hummus or any other type of veggie and dip your kids may like. For a healthy drink, give them milk or water and stay away from sugary drinks that may make it difficult to focus on their homework.
If you need more ideas for teaching your children about healthy eating, check out the links below for some great tips and advice from the United States Department of Agriculture.