By now all the kids are back to school. Even my kids who have already taken a week off of school due to a virus and two broken bones are back at school. Whew! Kids are busy these days. Dance classes, football practice, music lessons…………all sorts of things. They sure do need lots of energy to make it through the day. Of course, their first priority always has to be school. My mom used to refer to school as “my job.” She had a point. If I want my children to be successful at their school jobs, nutrition needs to be a part of that.
Here are 5 ways nutrition helps kids at school:
1. Start the day off right. Make sure to include protein and carbohydrates in their breakfast. Protein has amino acids that really get the brain fired up and energy dense carbohydrates will give them the energy they need to make it to lunch. Fruits and veggies provide lots of vitamins and minerals to keep them performing at their peak. Think scrambled eggs, toast, and smoothies.
2. Make sure they are hydrated. After going all night without drinking anything the kiddos really need to be hydrated. Water helps the organs to work properly and clears the cobwebs from sleepy brains. Pack a refillable water bottle in their bag so they can keep hydrated all day.
3. Make sure they have healthy snacks throughout the day. My little guy eats his snack in the afternoon. My daughter eats hers in the morning. It’s based on when they eat lunch. It’s important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level all day. I try to have snacks ready to go so they can grab something each morning and stuff it into their back-packs. Think baggies with cheese and crackers, cut fruit and veggies, dried fruit and nuts.
4. Avoid foods that impair mood. Excessive amounts of caffeine from sodas and energy drinks can lead to highs and lows during the day. It is believed that artificial colors lead to ADHD – like behavior in some children so artificially bright colored foods should be avoided. Nutritionists also believe that a diet high in processed foods which are made up of excess sugar and refined flours and grains can increase a child’s risk for anxiety and depression.
5. Enjoy a balanced dinner with your children. After a long day of school and activities the kids are going to need to re-energize. A balanced meal will do just that so they can finish their homework and then do it all over again the next day.
So………what are your favorite snacks to send to school with your kids? Have you noticed a difference in behavior depending on what your kids eat? Do your kids eat breakfast?
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