Expert tips for eating healthy at school

March Is Nutrition Month! That’s why this month I’ve teamed up with our Registered Dietitian, Jody, to share some tips that will help you choose foods and drinks to give your child the energy and nutrients they need to grow, learn, be more alert and perform better at school!

Tip #1: Good hydration is important for learning and concentration!refillable water bottle

  • Make water your number one choice. Try sending a refillable bottle so that your child can fill up throughout the day.
  • Milk is another a healthy option. Many schools offer milk programs – ask if your child’s school does!
  • Sugary drinks can lead to cavities and don’t provide as many nutritional benefits. We recommend skipping the fruit drinks or pop and packing your child’s favourite fruits and veggies and water instead.

 

Tip #2: For a healthy lunch, include at least three of the four food groups from Canada’s Food Guide.

  • Include least one vegetable or fruit and limit processed foods that often come pre-packaged.
  • Try making your own healthy “lunch kit” by filling a divided container with small ‘bite-sized foods
    like cheese cubes, chicken chunks, veggie sticks or fruit slices.
  • Have your children help plan and pack their lunches with healthy foods.

healthy lunch photo

  • Prepare lunches the night before to avoid the morning rush and refrigerate overnight.
  • Use an insulated lunch bag and a thermos to help keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Wash them in hot soapy water each night.
  • If your child’s school follows a balanced school day, you might find these ideas useful too!

Tip #3: Think about how snacking affects their smile.

smiling tooth cartoonWhen packing snacks, try to include two food groups from Canada’s Food Guide. Make at least one a vegetable or fruit.

Avoid foods and drinks with added sugar. These should be eaten with meals rather than as a snack.

Cheese is a high protein snack that can help fight cavities. For older students, chewing sugar-free gum following snacks also helps fight cavities.

 

imm2Looking for even more healthy eating tips and recipes? Visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s website www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

~ Stephanie Jones RN – Follow me on Twitter @SMHealthySchool

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