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Good nutrition during the school-age years is key to helping children grow, feel good and do their best. Besides nourishing their growing bodies, healthful eating supplies the energy children need each day for school, activities and fun. During grade school years, 6 to 12 year olds begin learning to make food choices on their own. Parents and caregivers play a vital role in helping children develop healthful eating and active living habits to last a lifetime.
You can create an environment for your child that encourages healthful eating with these practical guidelines.
Breakfast feeds a child's body and brain - helping to provide the energy and stamina a child needs to pay attention in class, get schoolwork done and participate in physical activities. Breakfast eaters are also more likely to meet their daily needs for important nutrients like calcium and iron. Serve up at least three of the four food groups in the morning to start the day off right.
When planned for and chosen carefully, snacks can be a "nutrition opportunity" for your school-age child. Snacks keep kids fueled between meals and help to prevent overeating at mealtime. They can help fill in nutrient gaps and contribute up to one-fourth of the calories and nutrients your child needs each day. For those who are active in sports or lessons, a nutritious snack helps keep them alert and promotes endurance and optimal performance. To help ensure each snack is filled with healthy, nutritious choices, choose at least 2 of the 4 food groups at each snacking occasion.