Want to help your kids succeed at school? Watch what they eat.
Research shows that children who have a nutritious breakfast have better concentration, more energy and do better in school, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Some schools provide breakfast. If your kids’ school does not, make sure they eat a breakfast at home that includes some protein.
Hunger can impair classroom performance. Many children qualify for free or lower-priced food at school. Forms can be filled out at the school office.
Many school districts have plans that enable parents to pay for their children’s meals through an online account. With this approach, kids have a card they swipe at the register.
If your school sends cafeteria menus home and/or posts them online, use that information to pack lunch on days when the main course is one your child doesn’t like. Find out if your school has a la carte choices in addition to the standard menu.
When packing a drink, choose water, juice or low-fat dairy products instead of soda. Each 12-ounce soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60 percent.
Find out what foods and drinks are available at school outside the cafeteria — for example, in vending machines, school stores, snack carts and fundraisers.
The American College of Family Physicians offers advice on packing healthy school lunches.