August and Back to School NutritionAlysson Toscana
August means summer is beginning to wind down… and school time is beginning to ramp up. A new school year means changes, and therefore it’s a perfect time to make some positive changes in the way our children eat. Introducing better nutrition and healthier eating habits can pay off not only all year long, but for a lifetime.
Respected nutritionist Dr. Lisa Young shared some simple tips to help get you (and your kids) off on the right foot:
1 – Breakfast is important
Protein and fiber are a winning combination for kids—one that will help them feel satisfied until lunchtime. Whole grain and berries, fruit and yogurt are also great choices.
2 – Skip added sugar.
The American Heart Association suggests that kids and tens between 2 and 18 years of age limit added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons per day. One big problem with added sugar is that kids who eat it tend to eat less healthy foods—ones that are good for their heart. Cookies, ketchup, many cereals, sweetened yogurt—all to be avoided along with sugary soft drinks. There are no real nutrition values in added sugar—see the American Heart Association guidelines here.
3 – Whole Fruit is Better Than Juice.
Whole fruit has fiber, along with water content that keeps the calorie count low. A single pint of orange juice has about 225 calories. For that amount, you could instead have 2-3 cups of mixed berries which would equal a lot more food value.
4 – Healthy Snacks can Up the Healthy Quotient
One fresh fruit and one veggie item can constitute a great healthy snack for your kids. Think apples, pears, fresh carrots with hummus. If the school allows it, a small serving of nuts can pack in some protein and satisfy appetites—and if the school doesn’t allow, save those nuts for after school time.
5 – Plate Portion Control
The easy way to gauge portion size—fill half the plate with veggies, one quarter of the plate with a lean protein like fish or chicken, and the last quarter of the plate with a healthy whole-grain or healthy starch like brown rice or sweet potato. There are more portion control tricks here.
6 – White Foods (except cauliflower or beans) are a No-No
White bread—slices, bagels—and white pasta are highly refined grains. They contain virtually no fiber, which means they aren’t as satisfying to eat. Kids learn to eat these by default—introduce them to alternatives like quinoa, whole grain pasta, and brown rice. Starch is okay, if limited, but whole grain is a far healthier alternative.
It’s a fact: the earlier you introduce fruits and vegetables into your kid’s diet, the better the chance of avoiding them becoming a picky eater.
- Consulting your pediatrician first is a great idea.
- Research shows that a healthy diet can improve cognitive skills.
- Involve your kids in preparing meals with fruits and vegetables
- Eat together as a family.
- Remember: kids may have to try something ten or more times before they grow a taste for it.
If you want to get started right now with healthy eating habits for your children, you may find the FarmPickedForYou Fruit and Veggie Just for Kids Box. It’s loaded with nutrients, created with the younger generation in mind, and is shipped straight from the local farm with all-organic fresh farm-picked produce:
- Celery 1 Bunch
- Broccoli 1 Bunch
- Yellow Pepper 1 Unit
- Melon 1 Unit
- Mandarine 1 Unit
- Carrots 1 Bunch
- Blueberries 1 cx 6oz
- Apples 4 Unit
- Bananas 6 Unit
- Green Pepper 1 Unit
- Red Pepper 1 Unit