Lunch: An uneaten lunch coming home from school, may not be a sign of dislike, but maybe a sign of too much talking and not enough chewing. School lunch periods are short. Encourage your child not to dawdle and get to the lunch room quickly.
When it comes to drinks, encourage your child to stick with milk or water. Many schools have eliminated soda and juices from their lunchroom, but no all have done so yet.
If you are packing your child's lunch: Offer small servings, many choices - variety is a key to healthy eating. Providing your child with plenty of variety is not hard or time consuming. Many lunch foods can be purchased or prepared, in advance, in large quantities. Each morning, simply fill up small containers with different foods. Buy a small Thermos, and include soups in the list of lunch choices. If your child's classroom does not have a refrigerator, you'll need an insulated lunch bag with freezer pack to keep foods cool until lunch time.
If your child is buying lunch at school: Unless your child's school is piloting a special healthy or organic lunch program, don't expect too much in the way of healthy choices in the school's cafeteria. Encourage your child to get on line quickly, and if given a choice, avoid chips and sugary items and choose a fresh fruit and a vegatable. If you are disappointed with cafeteria's lunch options, consider limiting buying lunch to once per week and pack a lunch for your child on other days. For a longer term solution, raise your issues at school board meetings.
Snacks: Don't be surprised to find that your kids arrive home from school starving. Be prepared with plenty of healthy snack choices on hand. Snacks provide the body with a boost of energy between meals. Snacks and junk food are not the same thing. Healthy snack ideas include:
Dinner: Dinner time is a great time of the day to get to know your child! So turn off the TVs, videogames, Gameboys, MP3s, put down the newspapers, books, and magazines, and sit down at the dinner table to enjoy a great meal with your family. During the meal, talk to your children about their day at school. For conversation fun, ask everyone to share something good and bad about their day. Enjoy the time learning about what's going on in your child's life when you are not around.
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