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Nutrition

Back-to-School Nutrition Tips To Keep Kids Healthy Year-Round


Proper nutrition and a balanced diet are not only key for growth and development, but also fuel brain cells for optimal learning.

AMERIGROUP Corporation, a Virginia-based managed healthcare company focused on providing healthcare benefits to people eligible to receive Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program benefits, has developed the following back-to-school nutritional tips to help keep children healthy and energized and to teach them good eating habits.

Breakfast

Make sure to feed your child a balanced breakfast consisting of a grain (toast, cereal, bagel, etc.), fruit or a glass of fruit juice, and a cup of milk. Studies show that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for children; it improves school performance and is necessary to help a child's memory function well, AMERIGROUP said.

School Lunch

When packing your child's lunch, try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Instead:

  • Pack animal crackers, fig newtons or vanilla wafers as opposed to candy and cookies.

  • Substitute less-fattening foods such as pretzels, graham crackers or popcorn in place of greasy and unhealthy potato chips.

  • Encourage your child to drink milk instead of soda at lunch. Calcium is essential for growing and developing bones in children.

  • Help your child get the proper amount of protein by packing them a sandwich made with peanut butter or a lunch meat such as turkey or chicken.

Snacks

Most children need a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon to keep them from losing energy and becoming hungry and irritable.

  • Stock your refrigerator with healthy snacks.

  • Send your child to school with "ready-to-eat" slices of fruits or vegetables.

  • Yogurt is high in protein and calcium and makes a tasty treat for your child.

  • Offer your child frozen fruit snacks. Frozen fruit provides a tasty alternative to ice cream.

  • Try to avoid buying pre-packaged snacks for your children. Instead, choose fresh produce, breads, nuts or cheese cubes.

© 2001 Health Resources Publishing