In a sense, we are what we eat. What we eat can determine the composition and the activities of our cells. Consequently, children/students need a healthy diet with the proper amounts of nutrients to keep their cells and organs–including the brain–healthy. What does proper nutrition look like for them given all the information and misinformation about food and diet?
I asked Kelly Ferraro, my friend from Continuum Weight + Wellbeing, to help us one more time.
Here are seven tips for parents and educators that she shared about nutrition, balance and best practices around food and nutrition.
- Make buying and serving healthy, nutrient dense foods a priority. The majority of what is in our grocery cart should include fresh or frozen vegetables (eat the rainbow), lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef to name a few), low fat dairy and fruits. That way, allowing and enjoying Sometimes Foods (chips, cake, sweet treats, pizza, highly processed foods) will not be nearly as unhealthy as if they are the staples in our pantry.
- When allowing our kids to have snacks like chips or pretzels, get them in the habit of taking out a serving, putting it into a bowl and then putting the bag away. This ensures proper portions are being consumed and it is less likely they will go back for more if the bag is not on their lap. That’s a super good tip for adults as well!
- Avoid buying juice!Juice is not the same as eating fruit, even if the label says “100% fruit juice”. Drinking juice is essentially like drinking sugar water. It is best to eat the actual fruit so our body can benefit from getting the fiber and go through the process of breaking down and digesting the food.
- Be sure kids are well hydrated from drinking mainly plain water.
- Don’t assume kids won’t eat or try new foods that are healthy.
- Walk the walk. As parents and educators, we need to be role models for our children. If they consistently see us eating healthy, making good choices while out to eat and not over indulging in junk and fast food, they will learn to live a healthy lifestyle, too.
- In today’s world of smartphones and online gaming among other sedentary activities, it is imperative that we encourage kids to be active and provide them the opportunity for exercise. Team sports are a fantastic way for kids to be active, bond with their friends, and have fun. If kids aren’t interested in team sports, encourage them to be outside engaging in simple activities such as walking, playing in the park, or running as that can do wonders for health and mood.
If you have questions for Kelly, you can contact her at Kelly@continuumweightwellbeing.com.
From our Top 20 team…Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody.
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