A new school year has arrived. Parents around Connecticut will be seeing their children off on the big yellow bus starting this week. This time of year is also great to focus on routines and goals that support growth and health.
Keeping nutrition top of mind can help kids have the extra focus and satiety they need to make it through the long school day. It will also go a long way in maintaining lifelong physical wellbeing.
Here are some tips to make eating healthy an easier part of your child’s day.
Teach Kids to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food
Starting on a path to good health begins with you. As a parent, it’s important to model the behaviors and routines you’d like your child to also follow. Opting for vegetables to fill your plate and not a large amount of starches or fried foods, for example, is a good example on the importance of choice when eating. You can also talk with kids about nutrition and how the body physically uses food as fuel to help them understand why choosing wholesome, quality food over pre-packaged foods with little value is the right decision. As they build this knowledge and start to enjoy a variety of seasonal and tasteful foods, their relationship with food will also be nurtured.
Be Careful with After School Snacks
Even if you put in the extra work to pack healthy lunch items for your child to eat throughout their school day, that positive step can quickly be ruined by poor afterschool snacking habits. While most active children will come home hungry and won’t be able to wait until dinner before eating something, that doesn’t mean handing them a snack like chips or cookies is the right move. Keep up with healthy eating even during these quick snack sessions and offer options like cut up fruit, veggies or a yogurt instead. Help kids get in necessary nutrients without spoiling their appetite before dinner.
Make Children Accountable for their Choices
Responsibility can go a long way in instilling good, lifelong habits in our children. The same way we show them how routines like making their beds, brushing their teeth and doing their homework have a beneficial payoff, we should make them accountable for their food intake and their daily movement too.
Support Healthy Habits
Do your best to support healthy habits. Stock the refrigerator and cabinets with quality options. Work with children to understand proper portion sizes and make mealtime a great experience with the family whenever possible. Be sure to also get out there and get active in the yard instead of hitting the couch after dinner. The weather is still great in Connecticut for a quick round of family softball and it’s another great way to put health first.