Get the Breakfast Boost!
Studies have shown children who eat breakfast do better in school. When you skip breakfast, you are more likely to become tired when your brain and body run low on fuel.
Whole grain toast, bagel or English muffin
Yogurt with fruit or nuts
Always serve breakfast, even if it has to be "on the run."
Some ideas for a quick, healthy breakfast include:
Fruit - Milk - Bagel - Cereal - Peanut butter sandwich - Yogurt
Make healthy snacks an easy choice!
Kids are more inclined to eat what's handy. Make healthy snacks easily available by packing them in their lunchbox or backpack or by having them visible and ready-to-eat at home.
Dried fruit (raisins)
Frozen fruit - freeze grapes or buy frozen blueberries, strawberries, melon, etc.
Smoothies - blend fruit with juice, yogurt or milk and ice.
Popsicles - look for: "made with 100% juice" with no added caloric sweeteners.
Dips - low fat dressing, salsa or peanut butter
Salad - set out veggies as a salad bar and build your own salad
Veggie pockets - cut whole wheat pitas in half; fill with veggies and dressing.
Ants on a log - peanut butter on celery - add raisins.
Frozen yogurt - serve occasionally due to high sugar content.
Note: cookies, snack cakes, and chips should be saved for occasional treats, given their poor nutritional quality.
*Take advantage of big appetites after school by serving healthy snacks*
Fruit - Vegetables & dip - Yogurt - Cheese & crackers - Cereal & milk
Healthy Grains (bread, crackers, cereals, etc.)
Try to serve mostly whole grains, which provide more fiber, vitamins and minerals than refined grains.
Whole wheat English muffins, pitas or tortillas - stuff with veggies.
Breakfast cereal - Whole grain cereals make good snacks. Serve either dry or with low-fat milk.
Crackers - whole grain topped with low-fat cheese or peanut butter.
Popcorn - low-fat in a bag or microwavable
Granola & cereal bars - whole grain that are low in fat & sugar
Pretzels, breadsticks & flatbreads - offer as an occasional snack - most are not whole grain and are high in salt.
Trailmix - low-fat granola, whole grain cereals, peanuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit like raisins, apricots, apples, pineapple or cranberries.
Low-Fat Dairy Foods
Yogurt - serve low-fat or fat free; can be served with fresh fruit and low-fat granola.
Cheese - cheese is the #2 source of heart-damaging saturated fat in children's diets. Even with low-fat and reduced-fat cheese, serve with other foods like fruit, vegetables or whole grain crackers.
Pudding - serve occasionally due to high sugar content.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 1-6 drink no more than 6 ounces (one serving) of juice a day and children 7-18 drink no more than 12 ounces (two servings) of juice a day.
Low-fat & fat free milk - Key nutrients of calcium and Vitamin D. Choose fat free (skim) or low-fat (1%) to avoid heart-damaging saturated fat found in whole or 2% reduced fat milk.
Fruit juice - Buy 100% fruit juice to avoid the added sugars of juice drinks, punches or lemonade. Orange, grapefruit and pineapple juices are more nutrient-dense and are healthier than apple, grape & pear. Fruit juice can be rich in vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting compounds, however, it is high in calories.