As children head back to school, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to celebrate Kids Eat Right Month™ by ensuring children are properly fueled to grow and succeed.
"The start of the new school year coincides with Kids Eat Right Month providing the perfect opportunity to revamp your families' eating habits," says registered dietitian, nutritionist, and Academy spokesperson, Caroline Passerrello.
Here are some tips for developing healthy habits in your children:
Get your children involved in planning and shopping for your meals. Make sure the planned meals have a variety of foods and include protein, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy. At the store, encourage your children to pick out one or two new foods to try. Also, use this time to teach them about reading nutrition labels.
Involve your children in food preparation. Let them cut and mix ingredients. Kids are more likely to try new foods if they help prepare them. This is also a good time to teach them about food safety practices such as washing hands before preparing food. For more tips about cooking with kids, check out this video.
Encourage your child to participate in school meals, such as breakfast and lunch. School meals now have strict nutrition standards that most lunches brought from home do not meet. A study done by Tufts University found that only 27% of the packed lunches met 3 out of the 5 nutrition standards for school meals.
At the end of the day, sit down for a family dinner. Enjoy a healthy meal and share the day's experiences with one another. Research indicates that families who eat together have a stronger bond, and their children have higher self-confidence, and perform better in school.