SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - With the school year underway for most of our area, you might already be running out of ideas on what to pack in your child’s lunch!
Teaching your children healthy eating habits early is crucial, according to Rebekah Laurence, a nutritionist with Southcoast Health.
“They’re still growing, building bones and developing, and children are learning these habits early on. Healthy eating helps control their weight, prevent chronic diseases.”
She says snacks and meals should include a balance of as many food groups as possible.
“Those carbohydrates absorb very fast. So, you know, your cereals and fruits and things like that are going to get used very quickly, and they’re going to run out of energy.”
Laurence says packing those snacks and meals ahead of time, or meal-prepping, is key, even if your child is learning remotely.
“I like to use a blank calendar, you know. Just one week, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Go ahead and purchase those groceries for the week ahead. You may have to do a little bit of prepping before the week starts. You can do some of the chopping, baking some of the meats, portioning things out. It’s going to take more time up front, but it’s going to make the school week less hectic.”
Don’t be afraid to borrow some ideas from your school district.
“If you need good kid-friendly meals, a good resource is actually using the school website. You can take the meal ideas that they already have listed on there, and use them for your own meal plan.”
Of course, eating healthy is only part of the equation. To keep your kids focused, active and eating healthy, Laurence suggests setting up a schedule for the day.
“Figure out if they want to do 15 minutes of school first, and then they can take a little five minute break. Just get them up, move around. They can walk around the table, go to the bathroom, get some water. We may have to set certain snack times and meal times and things like that so they aren’t overeating.”