Parents and schools are always looking for ways to teach children good eating habits that will benefit them and their teeth for life. Many schools are starting to replace soda pop vending machines with healthier alternatives such as flavored milk, water, and 100% fruit juices. Schools are also filling snack vending machines with healthy, lower-fat alternatives such as popcorn, pretzels, nuts, fruit, and yogurt.
Studies have shown that children who participate in breakfast programs and other meal plans experience increased test scores, improved attendance records, and better class participation. Physical activity in kids also increases self-esteem and lowers stress, which can also lead to better academic performance.
Most children in America don’t get enough physical activity and don’t have a balanced diet because snacks tend to be high in sugar and fat content. Poor diet and a lack of physical activity can lead to medical complications such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, and even depression. The consumption of large amounts of sugary foods and drinks also paves the way for cavities and gum disease.
What Can You Do?
- Limit your child’s access to sugary drinks.
- Provide your child with healthy snacks.
- Make sure that your child brushes for 2 minutes twice daily, flosses daily and visits the dentist twice a year.
- Ask your child’s school what kind of snacks and drinks are provided and encourage them to offer healthy alternatives.
- Make sure your child gets adequate exercise.
- Make sure your child has a healthy breakfast to start the day right.
- Set a positive example yourself!
Healthy Snack Options
Stock up on healthy snacks such as bagels and cream cheese, trail mix, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, string cheese, 100% fruit juice, pretzels, baked chips, milk, seltzer water, and veggies. Here are some great after-school recipes for kids:
2 cups low-fat yogurt
1 cup chopped fresh, canned, or frozen fruit
1 cup low-fat granola
Layer equal amounts into four cups and share with friends!
Peanut Butter Roll Up
Spread peanut butter on a tortilla, sprinkle with your favorite nut or sunflower seeds.
Roll up and enjoy!