WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — With kids across our area heading back to school, parents once again have to come up with healthy and filling meals. Experts say that as kids get back to learning, whether in the classroom or online, they should start their day with a nutritious breakfast.
“It’s important to jump start your metabolism. You’re breaking the fast from overnight. It’s an opportunity to give your body some energy to fuel yourself throughout the day,” Madeline Waters, a nutritionist at UPMC, told Eyewitness News.
Waters says breakfast can be easy and quick for busy parents.
“Greek yogurt is preferred because it has more protein,” Waters said. “Some granola to add a nice crunch and it’s a grain. And any choice of fruit you’d like to top it with.”
In the middle of the school day, kids need a healthy lunch. If your child is learning from home a meal can be prepared for the next day to avoid scrambling during lunch time. If your child is learning in the classroom, packing a bento box style meal will help you give the proper servings.
“You’re going to want to aim for a grain, a protein, a fruit, a vegetable, and dairy. Then with your lunch you’re making sure you’re getting a single serving of all of those food groups,” Waters said.
Having healthy snacks in the house is key for when your child gets home for the day. Waters says combining food groups is important.
“Apple with peanut butter so you have a fruit with a protein. A vegetable with a protein. We have a little medley here with celery, carrots, cucumbers and protein in the form of hummus. Nuts are always a good option. They are a healthy fat which is important for brain development,” Waters explained.
Bringing your child grocery shopping to pick out the snacks they want can help them stay healthy and have a more active role in meal time.
“Let them pick out the fruits and veggies they’re going to eat this week. Let them get involved because they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment,” said Waters.
Fruit and veggie portion sizes for your child should be about one cup, or the size of a baseball.