SUNDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A healthy diet can help
students excel in school, a registered dietitian says.
One of the best ways to jump-start a successful school day is to
provide children with a nutritious morning meal, says Debby
Boutwell, a clinical dietitian in the division of nutrition therapy
at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
This doesn't necessarily mean serving traditional breakfast
foods, however. For school children, Boutwell recommends a
breakfast that includes high-fiber grains, fruit and dairy
products. Here are some options:
- Fiber rich and whole-grain cereals with low fat milk
- Yogurt and berries
- Toast, eggs and 100 percent fruit juice
- Whole-wheat bagels and cheese or eggs with low-fat milk
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with low-fat milk
- Grilled cheese sandwich with 100 percent fruit juice
Children should be having even more nutrient-rich foods for
lunch, to help them stay alert throughout the day, Boutwell
advised. She noted that using the website, myplate.gov, can help
parents pack healthy lunches for their children. Half of a child's
lunch should be fruits and vegetables, and at least half of the
grains eaten at lunch should be whole grains, Boutwell said. Fats
and sweets should be kept to a minimum.
Among Boutwell's other lunchtime tips for school children:
- Mix it up.Variety is good. For example, avoid packing the
same type of bread every day and make sandwiches using pitas,
bagels, crackers or tortillas.
- Simplify things.Provide children with fruits that are easy
to pick up and eat, such as apple wedges, grapes or strawberries.
Packing a yogurt or peanut butter dipping sauce can also be fun for
- Limit sugary drinks.Even 100 percent juice contains a lot of
sugar. Opt for low-fat milk, water or sugar-free flavored water.
Don't give children drinks with caffeine or herbal
- Review the school lunch menu.Even children who bring their
lunch to school can buy a cheese stick or milk at school to ensure
it's fresh and cold. Parents should check their child's school
lunch menu to review what is being served.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
school nutrition for children and teens..