With school now back in full swing, your kids are eating at least one, maybe two meals a day at school. With awareness, attention and pressure being placed more and more on schools for providing healthy lunch options for kids, students have more chances now to create good eating habits. In a previous post, Making After-School Snacks Fun and Healthy, I mentioned some ideas you can use with feeding your kids snacks when they come home from school. But equally important is knowing what your kids are eating at school. Even with school’s offering more healthy lunches, the options are still there for kids to make unhealthy decisions. According to an article at About.com “the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Healthy School Lunch Campaign say that the ‘menus served in school lunch programs are too rich in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.”
While I’m not advocating that you strap a camera to your son or daughters back when they go to school to monitor if they eat healthy or not, do encourage them to make healthy eating choices when at school. Here are a few tips that can help put your kids on the right track.
1. Make sure they get a good breakfast–A healthy breakfast provides them with the start to the day that they need and curbs uncontrollable appetites that could lead to over consumption or unhealthy choices.
2. Pack them a lunch–Make the lunch for them so that you are revealing to them what a healthy lunch ought to look like. SuperNanny gives tips on packed lunches. “When packing a lunch, variety is best; choose an assortment of fruit and vegetables in various colors and sizes. This ensures that kids receive a mix of vitamins and minerals, and it will prevent them from becoming bored with the same packed lunch routine every day. Kraus recommends including a type of whole grain product in the meal, such as tortillas or bread, with a lean protein, such as tuna, turkey or chicken.”
3. Give them healthy snacks–Trust your student to take healthy snacks to school that they like and that they can eat at snack time or in between classes. Eating smaller amounts less often will again, keep their energy and focus high and their hunger low.
4. Model healthy eating habits–Your kids will look to you to and model your eating habits. Make a change in your own life, for their sake, and yours, and eat healthy when at home and at work. Your kids will take notice of what and how much you eat and it will be easier to get them to eat healthy if you are doing so as well.
Other tips for helping your kids eat healthy? Leave a comment below.