Cooper's Guide to Teaching Children Healthy Eating Habits
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It’s important to help your child understand the value of healthy eating habits.
As a parent, you should plan ahead to ensure that your child starts the day with a healthy breakfast. Recent studies have shown that a balanced breakfast every day can boost your child’s brainpower, helping them perform better in school. Patty Kirk, RD, LD, offers some suggestions for nutrient-rich breakfasts to start the day right:
- Provide wholesome carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods will fuel your child’s body with energy throughout the school day.
- Incorporate lean protein to build and maintain muscles for growing children. Good sources of protein include eggs, yogurt, fat-free milk, reduced-fat cheese or even peanut butter on whole grain toast.
A well-balanced lunch is equally important for a strong foundation for your child’s health. Teach your child to find nutritious options from the school lunch menu or pack a lunch more often. If you prefer to pack a lunch, you should involve your child in the decision making. It can be as simple as taking your child to the grocery store to pick out their daily sources of protein, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. This can also give you the opportunity to teach your child about the value of healthy foods.
When the school day ends, provide your child with a small snack to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. Healthy snacks are an important source of calories for growth and development and can help provide additional nutrients such as calcium and fiber. As a helpful reminder, an afternoon snack is not a meal and should be kept under 200 calories each day. Nutritious and fun snack ideas include:
- One Smart Pop mini bag popcorn and a light Babybel cheese
- Low-fat string cheese and a small piece of fruit
- Cinnamon toast and fat-free milk
- One Bean and Guacamole Roll-Up
- Peanut butter with a sliced apple
- Banana Bites
Parents are their child’s most influential teacher and best role model for healthy behavior. Eating healthy meals as a family sets the example for children on properly fueling your body. These healthy habits are a collaborative approach to achieve a better long-term lifestyle.
For more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or to schedule a consultation with a registered dietitian, click here or call 972.560.2655.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.