Tools for School: Food for Thought

This is the first in a three part series this week that will give you some helpful back-to-school tools!

We’ve all heard that certain foods can make kids smarter, and that’s true. Fish, for example, contains Omega 3, well known for its powers as “brain food.”

But even beyond fish, children who routinely eat well-rounded, nutritious meals perform better in school. More importantly, they’re also healthier. That’s why the USDA recently released new guidelines to provide healthier breakfasts and lunches in schools.

Under the new guidelines, students will be offered:

  • double the amount of fruits and vegetables
  • increased whole grain-rich foods
  • fat-free or low-fat milk
  • reduced sodium, saturated fats and trans fats
  • suitable ranges for daily caloric intake

While these new nutrition standards for school meals  are encouraging, there are still plenty of unhealthy options, most of them popular with kids. Think pizza, french fries, and sugar-laden snacks.

As a parent, you can help ensure your child is on the right track by talking to them about making healthy choices and setting a good example at home. Another option is helping children pack their own lunch for school. Just remember to include something from all the food groups and avoid pre-packaged, processed items.

With the right balance of healthy, delicious foods at school, every child can fuel up for success!

Want to learn more?  Check out all the terrific resources on child nutrition through Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, including this guide to the Food Guide Pyramid.

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