The summer has come to an end and kids are gearing up for the new school year. While the summer days may have been filled with more treats, a few additional hours of screen time, and very little routine, it is now time to get back in the swing of things.
If you want to set up your kids for a healthy and productive school year, here are a few nutrition tips to get you and your family started on the right foot.
Always Eat Breakfast
Your mom was right all those years ago: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for children. Breakfast helps fuel kids’ brains at the start of the day, which can help optimize their ability to learn.
Additionally, breakfast may help reduce fatigue, mood swings, or behavioral issues. Who wants to behave when you are overly hungry? Finally, breakfast can also help children maintain a healthy body weight and reduce snacking later in the day.
Start the day with a high-quality breakfast that contains protein and fiber to get the day started. Consider our Brain Power Smoothie with walnut butter and blueberries or these Easy Peanut Butter Protein Bites, for quick breakfast options.
Pack a Water Bottle
Many schools start in August or early September when the weather can still be quite warm in many parts of the country. Dehydration can be a concern during the school day, particularly if your child spends time outdoors or plays a sport outside. Additionally, dehydration can negatively affect brain function and learning.
Staying hydrated is essential during the school day, but it can be hard to drink enough if water is only available at mealtimes. Always send your child to school with a water bottle and encourage them to refill it throughout the day. Be sure to wash the bottle in warm, soapy water each day to prevent bacteria and mold growth.
Kids going back to school also coincides with the kick-off of cold and flu season. This may be partially due to the change in weather but is also related to children resuming contact with each other and spreading germs during the school year.
Good nutrition is the foundation of a strong immune system. Encourage your child to eat at least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and enough protein to help keep the immune system strong. Consider adding a kid’s multivitamin to their daily routine to ensure they are getting the vitamins and minerals their immune system needs.
Support Brain Health
Children’s brains are constantly growing and developing until they reach adulthood. The brain, being the most important organ in the body, thrives on many different nutrients. It needs carbohydrates for energy, but also essential omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA for growth and development.
To optimize brain health, encourage your child to eat high-quality carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains throughout the day. Also, be sure they are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. These can be found in fish, chia, hemp, flaxseeds, or in supplements, like our Kids Plant Omega-3.
Healthy Lifestyle for Back to School
Good nutrition is a great way to help children learn, grow, and thrive during the school year. Other lifestyle choices can help as well. Just like adults, children need sleep, exercise, and time to unwind.
Getting adequate sleep, at least 8-10 hours per night, is essential for learning and growing. Regular physical activity helps children maintain strong muscles, build strong bones, and lower their risk of chronic disease. Finally, kids also need some time to be kids and just play. This can help them relax and unwind after a demanding school day.
- by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
Shared from: gardenoflife.com/blog/back-to-school-nutrition-guide-set-your-kids-up-for-success
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Dighriri, I. M., Alsubaie, A. M., Hakami, F. M., Hamithi, D. M., Alshekh, M. M., Khobrani, F. A., Dalak, F. E., Hakami, A. A., Alsueaadi, E. H., Alsaawi, L. S., Alshammari, S. F., Alqahtani, A. S., Alawi, I. A., Aljuaid, A. A., & Tawhari, M. Q. (2022). Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Brain Functions: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 14(10), e30091.
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