As the new 2013-14 school year began last month, we reached out to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for some survival tips as students headed back to class. This month, CHOA has some other necessary survival tips: eating healthy before, during and after school.
Veggies And Fruits
Make half your plate veggies and fruits. Veggies and fruits contain vitamins, minerals and fiber-stuff your body needs to work like it should. Serve a variety of colors, especially red, orange and dark green because they are full of nutrients. To add variety, pick a new fruit or vegetable for daily menus on a regular basis.
Make at least half your grains whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber and other nutrients to help digestion and overall health. If a grain is brown, it doesn’t guarantee it is a whole grain. Look for the word “whole” before the name of the first ingredient to get the full benefit of grains.
Go Lean With Protein
Protein is a source of energy that helps your body build and repair itself. You can find it in both animal and plant foods. Varying your protein sources is a good way to balance potential nutrients. Choose lean proteins when possible with foods like lean beef, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, low-fat dairy, beans, peas, lentils and soy/meat alternatives.
Drink And Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Dairy products are an important source of calcium and Vitamin D that keep bones strong. Serving low-fat milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese is an easy way to add dairy to children’s meals. Children older than 2 years of age should be given 1 percent milk or skim milk.
More Water. Less Juice.
Our bodies are made of water so it is important to drink water regularly. Offer water with snacks and have it readily available. Keep in mind, we need more water when exercising vigorously and in warm temperatures. Also, limit daily juice intake to 4 to 6 oz. or less of 100 percent fruit juice. While 100 percent fruit juice can count as a serving of fruit, drinking multiple servings every day is not encouraged. Fruit juice lacks the fiber and other nutrients found in whole fruit.
Sweetened beverages increase your body’s need for water and can crowd out the fluids your body really needs. Limit the amount of sweetened beverages they drink. Although water can be found in all of these drinks, your family should still drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to keep hydrated.