I’ve been to Target, I see the school supplies. I know what comes next…BACK TO SCHOOL.
How is the summer almost over? I’ve been to Target, I see the school supplies. I know what comes next…BACK TO SCHOOL. The long, peaceful days of summer are all too quickly on their way out which means it’s back to work, back to school, back to rushed breakfasts and throwing lunches together on the fly. It’s hard! It’s hard to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door. And sometimes our kiddos end up with less than stellar meals (hello, Taco Bell eaten in the car!) and we find ourselves swearing we will do better tomorrow (and we do…mostly).
At school, our class starts the year by working on personal goal setting for both school and home. It’s a great way to get to know each other better and a super tool for self-advocacy! What we know about reaching our goals is how important it is to have the right fuel to stay focused and keep our energy up! What a school-aged kid eats in a day matters. Without the proper nutrition (and enough of it) students fatigue, lose the ability to concentrate, and can have headaches or “foggy brain” which makes learning much harder than it has to be.
ChooseMyPlate.gov reports that children in middle school need 5 to 8 ounces of grains, such as cereal, bread and pasta. They also need 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein foods, such as lean meat, fish, beans and nuts, as well as 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, squash and leafy greens, and 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits like melon, berries, apples and citrus fruits. Children this age also need at least 3 cups of low-fat milk each day. The USDA estimates that kids ages 9 to 13 need 1,600 to 2,000 calories if they are sedentary, 1,800 to 2,200 calories if they are moderately active and 2,000 to 2,600 calories each day if they are active. Making sure your crew has enough to eat while at school is just as important as what they eat. Without enough calories, their bodies don’t have enough fuel to learn, move, and focus all day.
…some kids don’t like a variety of healthy foods. Some kids flat out REFUSE them.
Having said that… some kids don’t like a variety of healthy foods. Some kids flat out REFUSE them. And that’s ok. Get them involved in food prep, give them choices, keep introducing opportunities to try new and different foods, keep it light and fun, and most importantly, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t all go to according to plan. There is no one perfect way to feed your kids. You know them best, and you know what is best for them.
So, on that first day of school, if your kid shows up with a cold bean burrito for lunch, know you’re not the only one. We’ve all been there, we’ll all be there again. And remind yourself that most of the time, you’re on it, you’re cutting up fruit and writing cute notes, and avoiding classroom allergens like a pro! You’re doing more than just preparing their lunch each day, you’re preparing their minds and bodies! Now that’s food for thought!