Written by: Chelsea Hansen

Summertime is coming to an end and the new school year is approaching. As parents, an important question on most of our minds is how do I set my child up for a successful school year? The following tips can help you answer that question.

Start their day with a healthy breakfast.

Why is breakfast important?

Eating breakfast provides a huge advantage both in physical and mental health. According to research (1,2,3), starting your child’s day off with a healthy breakfast can lead to the following benefits:

  • Better test scores
  • Improved memory and focus  
  • Fewer behavioral problems  
  • Healthier food choices  
  • Lower chances of obesity  
  • Boosts immunity  

What does a healthy breakfast look like?  

Breakfast should include at least 3 out of 5 food groups seen on MyPlate (fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy) with an emphasis on whole grains that are low in sugar, and protein and dairy that are low in fat.  

What are some examples of a healthy breakfast?  

  • whole grain bagel with cream cheese and side of fruit  
  • premade omelet bites, whole grain toast and cup of milk 
  • yogurt parfait with whole grain granola and fruit       
  • whole wheat toaster waffles topped with peanut butter and a side of strawberries  
  • smoothie with piece of whole wheat toast and avocado spread  
  • overnight peanut butter banana oatmeal  

Send them with a replenishing lunch.

Why is a healthy lunch important?  

According to Julianna Apuzzo and Tisa Hill, “children and adolescents have been shown to get along better with classmates and cause fewer class disruptions when they have been eating properly.”  Lunch is not only an opportunity to refuel and replenish but it is another opportunity to provide ourselves with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need to take care of our bodies and minds.    

What does a healthy lunch look like?  

Like breakfast, lunch should have at least 3 out of the 5 food groups from MyPlate. Try to incorporate food groups that were missed during breakfast! Focus on foods with healthy fats, fiber, and protein. These foods with keep your child full and energized until the end of the school day.   

What are some examples of a healthy lunch?  

  • low sodium lunch meat with low fat cheese and whole wheat bread sliced cucumber  
  • nut butter with jelly (reduced sugar) on whole wheat bread with carrots sticks  
  • hardboiled egg, Whole wheat bagel with low fat cream cheese, blueberries, and sliced bell peppers  
  • hummus with snap peas, cucumber slices, carrots, whole wheat pita and apple slices  
  • whole wheat pasta with cucumber, avocado, diced grilled chicken drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper  

A well balance diet provides MANY important benefits for our mind and bodies. Nutrition is a key component to setting your child up for a successful school year experience – socially and academically!