Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Back to school nutrition tips

Jaclyn St. John

As we all prepare for our children to go back to school, here are three tips to consider for your family:

First Tip: Always start your day with breakfast.

There’s a reason why breakfast, either at home, at school, or on-the-go, is often called the “most important meal of the day.”

Eating a nutritious breakfast is a great way to be on target to meet daily needs for key nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

As parents, it is important to know studies have found children who eat breakfast show improvement in memory, achievement test scores, grades, school attendance and tardiness rates compared to children who skip breakfast.  Encourage your child(ren) to eat breakfast everyday.

Second Tip: Enjoy family meals together.

Do you feel like you can never get your family to slow down enough to settle around the kitchen table? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Family meals help kids form healthy nutrition habits and are a great way to spend time together and connect as a family. By including your child(ren) in food decisions and choices — it empowers and encourages them to play an active role in leading their own healthy life.

Third Tip: Snack smart.

With school back in session, healthy eating and physical activity are as important as ever. As calendars fill up with extracurricular activities, having nutrient-rich snacks on hand is essential. All you need are a few common grocery store items and you’ve got afternoon snacks that will score big.

  • Fresh fruit or vegetable, of choice
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Dried fruit
  • Assorted nuts
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Granola
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hummus

Once the fridge is stocked, snacks are a synch. Simply pair two items together to include two out of the five food groups for snacks that are both satiating and packed full of nutrients. For example, pair fresh fruit and string cheese, yogurt and granola, vegetable with hummus — the options are endless!

Together we continue to build a healthy, high-achieving generation of youth!

Next month’s column: “Hunger Action Month: Food is only nutrition — if we eat it!”

Written by Jaclyn St. John, a registered dietitian, mom and lover of all things family, food, fitness and fun. If you have questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected]

St. John works for Dairy West on behalf of dairy farm families in Idaho and Utah to promote the dairy industry and dairy products locally, nationally and globally.


Jaclyn St. John

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