It’s that time of year again. The kids have headed back to school! Even though you’ve finished your search for school supplies and have most of the back to school shopping done, your family is still busy and your family life is still hectic!
Surviving in this busy world often means eating on the run. Between sporting events, work, and parent-teacher conferences, you are wondering, how do I help my kids eat healthy during the school year?
This involves thinking about school lunches as well as dinners at home.
How do I help my kids with a healthy school lunch?
School lunch programs across the nation strive to give children nutritious selections. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides public and nonprofit private schools nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. NSLP is constantly evolving to meet the needs of children, including having a Team Nutrition Initiative which provides training for school nutrition professionals to enable them to prepare and serve nutritious meals. Schools are also working to increase the availability of fresh produce for their students. Through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program children at participating elementary schools are given access to a variety of produce they otherwise might not have the opportunity to taste. To do even more, many schools are participating in the Farm to School initiative, which helps schools incorporate fresh, local produce into school lunch menus.
What about healthy snacks for kids?
Your child had a healthy lunch and now they want a snack? What can you do to give them a treat while also making sure it is good for them? Check out the recommendations the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has put together that includes healthy snacks for kids.
Have a picky eater? Parenting.com has some ideas for healthy meals for picky kids.
You have spent time searching for healthy school lunch ideas, healthy snacks for kids, and even ideas for healthy meals. Now you need help with the next step, encouraging healthy eating habits. The CDC has some great pointers for you to think about to keep your children healthy. They suggest balancing the calories your child consumes from foods and beverages with the calories they expend through physical activity and normal growth.
Makes sense, right? But maybe you are looking to do even more.
Here are some great tips from the CDC to help your children maintain a healthy weight:
- Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
- Include low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products.
- Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils, and beans for protein.
- Serve reasonably-sized portions.
- Encourage your family to drink lots of water.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Limit consumption of sugar and saturated fat.
With everything on your plate, you still find it important to help your family make healthy choices.
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