Kysha Rooks: Back-to-school nutrition tips

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 13, 2022

By Kysha Rooks
N.C. Cooperative Extension

After the summer’s indulgences of all sorts, fall is around the corner. It means the school calendar is about to kick off for experienced and new parents. Here are some tips to help you transition seamlessly and healthily into the school routine.

First things first, you must have a daily routine. This means scheduling each activity beforehand. Doing so may seem hectic, but trying to navigate a morning while running late is certainly worse! Here, it is important that a good morning starts the previous night. So, please ensure that each child gets at least 8 hours of sleep. Having a routine makes it easy to track supplies, shop in advance, and plan for meals.

Meal planning is essential for observing a healthy diet. It includes having a preplanned meal routine and preparing each dish in advance. When you have to lay out the next meal’s ingredients a day before, it is easier to observe a balanced diet. It also minimizes the intake of unhealthy snacks due to a child being hungry with no healthy option available. In this respect, fruits and vegetables boost children’s immune systems, which is vital as they interact with their classmates. If you are new to meal planning, you should schedule the meal preparation for the day you have the maximum free time.

Water intake is critical for a healthy body, and one must ensure they meet their daily prescribed intake volumes. As a parent, this is critical for you and your children. Therefore, ensure you have at least one water bottle for each child. Encourage them to take the water dutifully using such tactics as rewarding them at the end of the day.

The brain is the one organ meant to be used most at school and deserves adequate care. Certain meals are beneficial in this regard. Fish and fish oil provide children with omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain development. Alternative omega-3 sources include some seeds and fruits such as avocado, but they are much less efficient.

Kysha Rooks is an EFNEP educator with the Rowan County Extension.

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