Back to School Nutrition Tips

Back to School Nutrition Tips

Eating a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snacks each day helps to keep your child healthy and ready to learn. Keep these back-to-school nutrition tips in mind to help your children perform well at school this year.

Breakfast

Children will have gone at least 8 hours sleeping and without anything to eat.  Be sure to start their days with adequate fuel via a balanced breakfast.

Breakfast gives kids more of the nutrients they need

A nutritious breakfast provides children with energy and essential nutrients for healthy growth and development. Research shows that children who skip breakfast may not make up for the nutrients they miss out on at that meal.

People who eat breakfast have healthier body weights

Skipping breakfast is not a smart weight control strategy. In fact, studies have shown that children and adults who do eat breakfast regularly have healthier weights than those who skip breakfast.

Skipping breakfast may affect success in school

Studies suggest that eating breakfast is associated with improved memory, better test grades, greater school attendance and better behaviour. Children who don’t eat breakfast may feel tired and have trouble concentrating.

Lunch

Do you have a fussy child who returns home with a full lunch pail?  Try getting your child involved in selecting foods for their lunch.  Children can make healthy choices for themselves and at the same time, learn an essential life skill of making healthy food choices for their day starting at a young age!

Kids who help plan and prepare their lunch are more likely to eat it

Lunch is a perfect opportunity to help your child develop healthy meal planning skills for life. Guide your child in choosing from a variety of healthy lunch options based on Canada’s Food Guide. Try to pack a lunch that includes at least three of the four food groups.

Make sure you consider their favourite foods

Ask your child to make a list of their favourite foods from nutritious choices in each of the four food groups. Use it to create a shopping list to stock your kitchen cupboards and fridge.

A week’s worth of meal ideas

Monday

Break One Break Two
Hot cereal or congee in a thermos

 

Blueberries

Milk

Tuna sandwich on whole grain bread

 

Steamed soybeans (edamame)

100% fruit juice

 

Tuesday

Break One Break Two
Bran muffin

 

Sunflower seeds

Chocolate milk

Leftover pasta or stir fry in a thermos

 

Sliced bell pepper strips with hummus for dipping

Cottage cheese cup

 

Wednesday

Break One Break Two
Whole grain crackers

 

Cheese string

Fruit smoothie

Tortilla rolled with black beans and salsa

 

Celery and cucumber sticks

Milk pudding cup

 

Thursday

Break One Break Two
English muffin with cheddar cheese

 

Apple slices

Hot chocolate in a thermos

Hard boiled egg

 

Rice cakes with hummus

Fruit yogurt

 

Friday

Break One Break Two
Whole wheat scone with apple butter

 

Banana

Fortified soy beverage

Leftover dahl or baked beans in a thermos

 

Cherry tomatoes

100% fruit juice

3. Snack smart

Children need plenty of nutritious snacks to keep them going between meals. However, children often choose less nutritious snack foods that are higher in calories, fat or sugar. Try to plan snacks that include at least two of the food groups from Canada’s Food Guide.

Children have small stomachs and need refuelling

Because children have smaller stomachs than adults, they usually can’t eat as much as adults at one time. Nutritious snacks can help keep them satisfied between meals and also provide energy and important nutrients.

Plan snacks around your child’s school day

Find out when your child’s school has scheduled break and snack times, and don’t forget about snacks for after-school activities.

What should I do for snacks?

As you plan snacks, think of them as a “mini meal” that includes two of the four food groups.   Try these simple nutritious snack ideas:

  • Whole grain crackers with a cheese stick.
  • Fresh cut fruit with a yogurt dip
  • Nut-free trail mix. Combine dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, and apple rings with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, along with your kid’s favourite cold cereal.
  • Yogurt tube and small oatmeal muffin

This month’s content provided courtesy of Dietitians of Canada and EatRight Ontario.  For trusted advice from registered dietitians, meal, and recipe ideas visit http://www.dietitians.ca and http://www.eatrightontario.ca!

Mosadi Brown, BA, BASc, MEd, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Educator, and Leader in private practice. Contact: mosadi@nutritionandwellnesswithmosadi.com and http://www.nutritionandwellnesswithmosadi.com

 

Author: Mosadi

Mosadi Brown, BA, BASc, MEd, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian based out of Toronto in private practice. Mosadi has a Bachelor of Arts, Honors in Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Applied Science, Honors in Food and Nutrition from Western University. She went on to complete a Comprehensive Graduate Dietetic Internship Program from London Health Sciences Centre in London, ON. After gaining extensive practice experience, Mosadi obtained her Master of Education in Adult Education with a focus on chronic disease education and support. Mosadi has skills in both clinical and educational arenas. By combining both skill sets, Mosadi is able to target specific behaviours to support behaviour change, focus on the interests and motivations of the target group, devote sufficient time and intensity through ready accessibility to her services, deliver coherent and clearly focused curricula, and be an asset to other health care professionals through resource development. She holds certifications as a Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Craving Change(TM) Instructor.

 

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