Good Health in School: Healthy Snack Ideas for Your KidHealthChampion | 09.19.2019
As every parent knows, kids have tremendous energy and are constantly growing. And all that energy and growth requires a lot of feeding and eating.
Our children’s brains also need to stay engaged when they’re learning all day, and this requires a healthy diet filled with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. To protect kids’ health and give them the best start in life, parents and caregivers need to provide healthful food options for every meal and snack of the day.
Whether your child is back at school, studying from home or attending summer camp, you can still give them the healthy meals and snacks they need to fuel their brains and bodies.
Basic Food Groups
As almost every parent of school-age children now knows, foods are divided into five basic groups: grains, proteins, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
Grains may be whole or refined, and whole grains are much healthier than refined grains. Grains such as brown rice, oats, barley, and whole wheat are common.
Both fruits and vegetables come in a variety of colors, and they tend to be rich in vitamins. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned ones when possible.
Proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts are important for growth and development, but choose lean protein sources when you can.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese provide calcium and protein, and many also contain vitamins A, D, and B12.
Some foods fall into another category, often called “sometimes foods.” These foods aren’t nutritious, and they usually contain lots of fat and calories. Examples of sometimes foods include fried foods, fast food, cake, and soft drinks. Try to limit sometimes foods; they can lead to health and weight problems.
Importance of Eating Healthy in School
Kids need to be able to concentrate and focus at school to learn. Eating healthy foods packed with nutrients is an important way to ensure that kids are ready to pay attention. Research also indicates that kids who eat healthy meals and snacks during school behave better in the classroom, have improved moods, and score higher on tests.
When kids get used to eating healthy and making healthier food choices when they’re young, they often develop good habits that will stay with them throughout their lives. Every kid needs to start the day with a healthy breakfast that includes protein, complex carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables. Kids should also be given enough time at school to eat lunch in a relaxed fashion, socializing with peers and enjoying their meals.
Healthy Snacks to Eat at School
It may seem challenging to eat healthy meals and snacks at school, but the good news is that healthy foods are often just as convenient as unhealthy ones.
Encourage kids to eat the rainbow; this involves eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that come in bright colors such as yellow, red, purple, and green. Even white fruits and vegetables such as pears, mushrooms, and cauliflower are tasty and healthy.
Vending machines placed in schools should offer healthy food and beverage options for kids. Pack nutritious snacks such as seeds, dried fruits, protein bars, string cheese, whole fruits like apples and pears, and individual yogurt cups or tubes.
School-age kids often like variety, so switch up lunches and snacks regularly to keep them interesting. Invite kids to help with choosing and packing lunches and snacks so they’ll be more likely to eat them.
- What Are the Basic Food Groups?
- Back to Basics: All About MyPlate Food Groups
- The Five Food Groups: Sample Choices
- The Five Food Groups
- Know Your Food Groups
- School Food Shapes Learning, Health, and Our Food System
- Eating Healthier at School
- Healthy Food Choices in Schools
- The Importance of Child Nutrition
- How Diet and Nutrition Impact a Child’s Learning Ability
- The Importance of Nutrition Education and Why it Is Key for Educational Success
- The Importance of Nutrition in Early Childhood Development
- Nutrition Tips for Kids
- The Benefits of Healthy School Lunches and How They Impact Performance
- The Importance of Eating Healthy for Students
- Benefits of School Lunch
- Why School Meals Matter
- The Super-Easy Healthy School Snack List
- 50 Healthy Snacks for Kids at School
- 19 Homemade Snacks for School
- Peanut Butter Banana Cinnamon Toast
- Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- Coconut Brownie Bites
- 22 Healthy Kids’ Snack Ideas for School
- 28 Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Love
- Lunch and Snack Recipes for a Healthy Return to School
- Healthy School Lunches and Snacks
- Smart Snacking
- Quiz: What Does Your Breakfast Say About You?