Back to School Nutrition

By Alana Gold, Registered Dietitian

As a new school year is upon us, I’m here to remind parents of the important role nutrition and healthy eating plays in your children’s school year. A diet filled with the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals can help your child have the energy, concentration and stamina needed for a successful school year. Read on as Truestar gives you the nutrition and health information you need to create ready-to-learn kids!

Start the day off right!
Statistics show that as many as 48% of girls and 32% of boys do not eat breakfast every day. It is important to eat breakfast, as it helps fuel the brain and muscles after a nightlong fast. If your kids don’t eat when they wake up, their body lacks the energy it needs to perform all of its daily functions. Eating breakfast can also improve your child’s total daily nutrient intake as well as allow them to think faster and clearer and concentrate better in school. Studies show eating breakfast also helps kids manage their weight as skipping breakfast sets your child up for extreme hunger later in the day, leading to poor food choices and excess caloric intake.

Breakfast should provide one-quarter to one-third of your child’s energy and nutrient needs for the day. Easy breakfast ideas include:
  • Protein Fruit Smoothie: Blend fruit, protein powder, milk or yogurt and flaxseed or nuts in a blender until smooth.
  • Cheesey Pita Melt
  • Cottage cheese and fruit medley: Mix cottage cheese with fruit and chopped nuts.

    Lunchbox Makeovers
    Packing a school lunch that is nutritious and delicious is one of the most effective ways to ensure good nutrition when away from the home. Let your child help plan and prepare school lunches - chances are if they helped choose the lunch and make it, they won’t be inclined to trade it or throw it away! Pack lunches that are fun for kids to eat such as using cookie cutters to cut fruit, veggies or sandwiches into fun shapes such as stars or hearts.

    Lunch should provide one-third of your child’s nutrition needs for the day. Easy Lunchbox recipes include:
  • Foney Baloney hero
  • Tuna wrap n’ roll: Drain tuna thoroughly. Mix 3 oz. Tuna with 1 tbsp. mayonnaise, chopped celery and carrots in a bowl. Spread tuna mixture onto whole-wheat wrap. Add tomato and roll up. Enjoy with an apple for dessert.
  • Lunchbox turkey sandwich

    After-school snacks
    When kids come home from school they are hungry and will often grab the most convenient foods they see - usually chips, cookies and other unhealthy snack foods from the cupboards. Be prepared by stocking up on fruits and vegetables and healthier snacks and place them on the counter where your kids can see them. Healthy after-school snacks are a great way to get needed nutrients that maybe missed in meals eaten outside the home.

    Easy Snack ideas include:
  • Veggies and dip
  • Healthy Nachos: Place 15 baked nacho chips on a plate. Top with 1/3 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese and microwave for 20 seconds, or until cheese is melted. Top with salsa.
  • Soynut and fruit trail mix: Mix 2 Tbsp chopped dried apricots with 2 Tbsp raisins and ¼ cup soynuts. Enjoy with a ½ glass of milk or soymilk.
  • See Tasty Truestar Desserts for more healthier recipes

    Final Point
    Truestar meal plans ensure kids are getting the right foods in the right balance for optimum health. This means, at each meal, kids should eat 50% of calories from carbohydrates, 25% of calories from lean proteins and 25% of calories from healthy fats. Also, get your kids on the fitness and supplement plans to ensure they are ready to tackle the school year with success!


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