The daily diet does not lead only to good physical health, but could also help in effective and optimal learning in a child.
Karin Richards, director of the Exercise Science and Wellness Management program and director of Health Sciences at University of the Sciences, suggests the following tips when planning breakfast, lunch, and snacks for a student:
Incorporate at least three types of foods into each meal, making sure to include some type of protein and carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates, like whole wheat bagels and pasta or honey wheat pretzels, will give your child energy while the protein will satisfy the appetite for a longer period of time.
Have the child shop with the parent to choose one fruit or vegetable each week. Encourage them to try new and interesting fruits and vegetables like kiwi, papaya, and edamame.
Be bold. Remember, breakfast doesn't have to be what's considered "typical." Thin crust pizza, peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat, a grilled chicken sandwich, or last night's leftovers can be nutritious, delicious and fun breaks from the norm!
Most meals may very well be "grab and go," so plan accordingly. Prepare homemade pancakes on Sunday evening and freeze for quick access later in the week.
Watch portion size. Three to four ounces of meat is plenty and is about the size of your palm. Adjust for your child's age and activity level.
Be a little sneaky. Add more veggies to everyday favorites. Try zucchini bread, healthy low-fat dips with veggies or adding shredded carrots into tomato sauce and soups.
Try low-fat or skim milk and bottled water for beverages. If juice is a necessity, choose 100 percent juice or make your own "child's cocktail" - half water, half juice.
It is all about balance. Everything in moderation is key.