Kids Eat Right Month, an initiative of the Academy Foundation's Kids Eat Right program, is celebrated each August and emphasizes the importance of families knowing how to shop smart, cook healthy and eat right. It features expert advice from registered dietitian nutritionists. The start of the new school year is the perfect time to reinforce healthy eating habits not only for children but also the entire family. It's important that you have the proper tools to create healthy routines-adequate sleep, nutrition and exercise.
Try to get in bed around the same time each night to create good sleep habits. Make sure you are going to bed early enough for you to get 8-10 hours of sleep.
Research shows that individuals who don’t eat breakfast have a harder time concentrating and are less productive and less successful at school and work. Eat foods low in added sugar. For example, whole grains which are high in fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats are good choices for breakfast. For Example: 1 slice whole grain bread with avocado or nut butter and a scrambled or fried egg and a side of berries; my favorite is an egg in the hole topped with lean breakfast meat and avocado and a side of berries.
Include lean protein, fruit & veggies, whole grains and dairy in your and your child’s lunches. Lunch is a very important meal to keep energy levels up so make sure you are packing or picking meals full of nutrients to keep you and your children focused throughout the afternoon. For Example: Turkey with low fat cheese on whole grain bread, a handful of strawberries, baby carrots and hummus; you could even turn your child’s lunch into a salad jar for yourself by swapping the bread for fresh lettuce!
Make time to enjoy a healthy meal and time together as a family. Research indicates that families who eat dinner together have a stronger bond. Children also have higher selfconfidence and perform better at school. Parents are key role models for their children. If you are eating healthy your children will follow and eat healthier as well, allowing them to create healthier habits at an early age. Prep your weekly meals ahead of time, use meal prep short cuts (pre-chopped vegetables for frozen vegetables or grains) and make use of your crockpot if your family has a busy week with activities. Eating a healthy dinner no longer means spending hours in the kitchen. Many healthy meals can be prepped in 30 minutes or less! For Example: Turkey burger with light cheese on a whole wheat bun, a side salad and baked sweet potato fries.
Regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills, and build self-esteem. Make time to exercise, set reasonable goals and make it fun! Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes per day. This is also a great way to spend quality time together as a family.
Make sure to check out www.Eatright.org for more information!
Adapted from: The Lemon Bowl/Liz DellaCroce