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Back to School – How to Help Kids Learn Better with Healthy Eating

December 23, 2013

back to schoolMost of the country is now back to school, and while parents already know that healthy eating can help their students do better in school, you might feel that’s easier said than done.

“Your brain can’t work if you’re not consuming enough calories, and in general that’s not a problem,” Krista Casazza, an assistant professor in the nutrition sciences department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release.

“But when kids go to school without eating breakfast, their thinking and learning skills can be affected,” said Caxazza.

Before School

Nutritionists advise that children should start the day with fruits, proteins and whole grains.

And most definitely avoid sugary cereals which are not only low in nutrition, but can cause a sugar high followed by a crash.

“A balanced breakfast will fuel the body for a long period and help sustain their attention level through lunch, when they need to eat well again,” Casazza said. “This will hold them until dinner, and they won’t snack ravenously after school.”

After School

No matter how well you plan, often your kids will and do come home from school too hungry to wait until dinner.

Healthy after-school snacks include yogurt, fruits and raw vegetables.

Baked chips, in moderation, can be an option.  For a drink, give them water instead of soda. Almond or rice milk instead of dairy drinks.

Allowing your kids to help make nutritious snacks will go a long way toward their willingness to eat them. There are many fun ideas on creative ways to make these types of snacks appealing.

Ideas for fun nutritious snacks

1. Instead of hard-boiled eggs – make deviled eggs

2. Instead of candy – make a healthy trail mix that includes plenty of Omega3-rich walnuts and almonds

3. Instead of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – offer naturally sweet, crisp, apple slices and peanut butter

4. Instead of ice cream – make fancy frozen bananas.

Peel a banana, dip it in low-fat yogurt (any flavor), roll it in crushed cereal (again, stay away from the sugary brands) so that it’s completely coated, then freeze.

5. Instead of high-calorie dips – make warmed cinnamon-spiced applesauce (especially good on a cold day) and serve with apple slices

Delicious – and oh, so healthy!  Mayesa healthy chocolate drinks are another easy way to help your students eat right. Try offering Mayesa heated as a hot chocolate drink in the morning with breakfast, or as a frozen chocolate pop for an after-school snack.

Photo Credit: acscan.org