There are plenty of studies out there that link positive health behaviors with increased student achievement. So it follows that good nutrition is a good idea when it comes to doing well in school.
Convincing your preteen to forego the French fries in favor of asparagus, however, is a totally different battle. How does a busy parent encourage healthy eating choices?
Try these tips:
Get your child involved in meal planning. Let your child pick out three easy recipes from a magazine, cookbook or online. By keeping it simple and involving them in the food preparation process, you’re not only teaching them a life skill, you’re helping foster an interest in healthy food.
Take your child to the grocery store. Consider a variety of foods, of different colors and textures. Colorful meals are often more appealing – and healthy. For example, orange fruits and vegetables can indicate the presence of vitamin A. Foods that have different textures – crunchy, chewy, sweet – make a meal more interesting.
Be a good role model! If all your meals are based on healthy choices, good nutrition becomes a habit because it is the norm in your home. Provide healthy snack options like cut up veggies and dip in the fridge or cheese and whole wheat crackers. Cookies in the cabinet can be enticing at snack time, but making healthy food available – and choosing healthy food for your own snacks – is a step in the right direction to encourage your children to make healthy food choices.
Other resources: USDA Food and Nutrition Service: “Eat Smart, Play Hard.” www.fns.usda.gov USDA: ChooseMyPlate.gov: For Kids. choosemyplate.gov Eat Well to Excel: “What Is the Relationship Between Child Nutrition and School Outcomes.” eatwelltoexcell.ca
Confused by the new MyPlate guidelines? The food pyramid hasn’t gone away – it’s just morphed into a plate. Here’s an easy-to-understand guide: Download guide