Eating During the School Day and Snacks

How can you ensure that your child is eating well during the school day? Here are some tips to help make sure your child eats a healthy snack and lunch.

· Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
· For after school snacks try to have a selection of vegetables already cut up and ready to eat in the refrigerator.
· Try to get your child’s school to stock healthy choices in the vending machines.
· Vending machines choices can also be modified to eliminate high-fat and empty-calorie munchies and provide healthy snacks that include more fresh fruit and low-fat dairy products, as well as water instead of sodas and juices with high fructose corn syrup.
· Keep an eye on what your children are drinking. By the age of fourteen, a third of American girls and more than half of the boys are drinking at least three 8 ounce servings of sweetened soft drinks daily. Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Restrict your child’s soft drink consumption. Replacing soda with sugar free soda is not a healthy option!
· Be creative by dressing up fruits and vegetables for maximum appeal. For example, prepare celery with peanut butter. Your children’s snacking habits aren’t going to change overnight, but look for positive changes over weeks and months.

Healthier snack ideas for school age children:

Fresh fruits and raw vegetables such as:
· berries
· oranges
· grapefruit
· melons
· pineapple
· pears
· tangerines
· broccoli
· celery
· carrots
· cucumbers
· tomatoes

Milk and dairy products:
· yogurt
· cheeses
· cottage cheese

Meat, nuts and seeds:
· chicken
· turkey
· sliced meats
· pumpkin seeds
· sunflower seeds
· nuts
· peanut/almond/cashew butter