Good Nutrition for Kids & Teens
All parents want their children to be healthy. As elementary school aged children go through remarkable physical changes of all kinds, their food intake becomes a critical aspect of this growth and development. Recent research shows that nourishing food not only makes a child healthier, it makes him emotionally more stable, and it improves school performance. It appears then that paying attention to our children's diets pays high dividends. If only our children thought so, too! Because children tend to rank their parents' views on food along with their unpopular views on curfews, rock music, hair styles, etc., it is up to the parents to, first of all, be clever about insinuating nutritious foods into the family menus and, secondly, take a reasonable but hard line when other approaches fail.
A child in the classroom whose last meat was dinner the night before has gone about sixteen hours without food, and that child is hungry, whether he knows it or not. A nutritious breakfast will provide energy for several hours-until lunch, in fact. Is any kind of breakfast better than no breakfast at all? Unfortunately, no. A doughnut, for example, provides a quick rush of energy that lasts about 40 minutes, about the length of time it takes the youngster to get from the breakfast table to his classroom!
Traditionally, teachers schedule "heavy" subjects, such as reading and arithmetic, during the morning hours, and so it becomes even more important that the child's brain be fueled. The following suggestions have proved helpful in sending youngsters off to school ready to team.
Offer options. "Here's what's for breakfast. You have two choices. Pick one of them." Just be sure that both choices have high nutritive value.
The sack lunch! Does the child give, trade, or throw most of it away? (The clue is if he comes home ready to eat anything and everything in the refrigerator!) It's altogether possible that the youngster is jettisoning his sack lunch because he is bored to tears with it, so it's time for the parents to get creative. One clever parent inserts a smaller bag labeled "this is for trading" into the larger bag, and it seems to work wonders! The following suggestions may help.
After School Snacks
Once a child has entered the primary grades, it is no longer possible for him to eat whenever he feels hungry, and it can be a long time between lunch and the final bell. Most youngsters arrive home wanting and needing an immediate energy boost. It's a great opportunity to add some "in nutrients to the youngster's diet. To many youngsters a snack automatically means something sweet; however, sugar should be removed from the diet as much as possible except for special occasions.
The time-honored tradition of breakfast, lunch, and dinner seems the best way to ensure a balanced diet, but the fact is that we may not need three meals a day. A better solution for some families may be more frequent, lighter meals. And it really isn't a matter of life and death if a family member misses dinner. No child ever starved to death because he was playing softball and forgot to come home for dinner. Common sense, flexibility, and creativity go a long way to make the evening meat pleasant.
Most of the foods served in fast food restaurants have fat as their main source of calories. Even milk shakes are often nude with highly saturated coconut oil. In addition, their foods are usually low in iron, fiber, and vitamins, and extremely high in sodium. Unfortunately, youngsters are exposed to virtually thousands of junk food television commercials a year, and parents might as well accept the fact that occasionally their children are going to head for a fast food restaurant. However, they'll survive, especially if their daily diet is nutritious.