Photo: Children Smiling

by Manjari Fergusson

You can help your children develop healthy habits early on that will benefit them throughout their life. Here are some tips for you to model and encourage your kids as they begin the new school year.

Breakfast of Champions

Time and again we’re told about the importance of eating breakfast. With good reason.  It turns out that it really is true. Think of it as fueling up for the day ahead. If you can start your day with a healthy breakfast, it’s easier to eat healthy the rest of the day. Especially for kids, eating breakfast is essential. A study released last year by the by non-profit group Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign showed that the kids who ate breakfast attended school one and a half days more than students who skipped breakfast. Those who didn’t skip the meal also had math scores 17.5 percent higher on average, and were 20 percent more likely to graduate high school – and high school kids earn more than $10,000 a year over the earnings of dropouts.

Healthy Snacks

Not only is it important for kids to eat breakfast, but you should also take their choice of snacks into consideration when packing their lunch. Instead of chips or cookies, better options that are still yummy include snacks like granola bars, fig bars, natural fruit leather, fresh fruit, natural trail mix, natural baked chips, whole grain crackers, and veggie sticks with yogurt or a healthy salad dressing made using olive oil and non-GMO soybean or corn oil. 

Drink more Water

Make sure your child stays hydrated by sending him or her off to school with a full water bottle. If your child needs a little encouragement to drink up, a healthy way to make their water tasty would be to squeeze lemon juice into it or throw in some mint leaves (or both!). Having water with them is also a way to dissuade kids from buying sugary drinks or sodas while at school or at a convenience store; teaching kids while they’re young to stay hydrated with water will set them up with good habits for life! Down to Earth sells reusable water bottles in various sizes; the stainless steel Hydro Flask is a hot seller these days.

Keep them Physically Active

Try to enroll your kids in an after school program that involves physical activity. So many kids come home after school and become engrossed in their computers, TV, smart phones and video games. If they’re running around and playing with other kids their age in a controlled environment, not only is it good for their physical health but it will translate into all other aspects of their life too.

We wish you and your chldren a happy and healthy school year!

Footnotes: 

Share Our Strength, “The Importance of Breakfast”, Share Our Strength http://join.nokidhungry.org/site/PageNavigator/SOS/Breakfast_2013.html