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School Days, School Days
Good Old Diet Golden Rule Days

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Healthy Tips for Kids Returning to School

With school right around the bend, we've got some healthy tips that will make your little ones jump out of bed each morning, ready to race to school.

Okay, perhaps they aren't that exciting, but one thing is for sure - a healthy diet combined with healthy activity equals a healthier kid.

I remember as a young girl that school didn't begin until after Labor Day.  I'd set off in my homemade dress, to the un-air-conditioned school - skipping along merrily for about one week.  

After that, the excitement swiftly faded and I longed to hold my generic Barbie and Alan doll in my hands and play the day away.  I can't imagine how I'd feel these days with school starting in some areas towards the first of August.

Three Enduring Health Tips From Diet Bites For Healthier Kids - Be sure to combine these with an adequate night's rest.

With the ultra-long school term ahead, we hope that the following tips help start off your school year on strong legs. And from time-to-time, it might be a good idea to send a healthy apple to teacher, some of the true unsung heroes amid our chaotic world.

1. Start your kid's day with a healthy breakfast.

Kids who embrace breakfast also embrace healthier grades. Keep in mind that if your child doesn't eat breakfast, it's a very long stretch from the beginning of school until lunch. Without food to fuel energy, your child will be dragging when it finally arrives.  Breakfast also helps keep sugar levels in check.

2. Encourage your school to ditch homework and increase activity time.  

Who's Kidding Who?  If the schools cannot accomplish the job in 7-8 hours, then something is wrong.  With our kids glued to a desk all day, once they get out of school, they should have the space to enjoy activities and to free their minds - for their good health. As pointed out in our article below that was posted at Diet Bites a couple of weeks ago, we feel that the biggest contributor to childhood obesity relates to school desks.  Now with school lasting longer and longer, the childhood obesity problem has room to grow.

When our youngest son was in his high school years, he had so much homework that he entered the house and went straight to work, and many nights, he didn't get finished until after midnight.  If a kid has six teachers and all of them are Homework Addicts, it can wreck a kid's home-life and health.  

With all this said, if homework must be given, then it should be very minimal.  This not only gives the kids a well needed break, but our teachers as well.  All that extra grading - and many times, they are grading the parent's work rather than the kids because the kids are so stressed out and tired, their parents end up doing more than just coaching them.

Schools that plan to incorporate longer activity periods (hint hint) receive a gold star.

3. Healthy Daily Diet

This includes healthier lunches served by the schools, healthier packed lunches and healthier options for fund raisers. Although recent actions have been taken to ban vending and beverage machines from schools, some schools may be in need of having their lunchroom food banned.  Just take a look at one school menu served at an Alaskan school last September:

5 BBQ Pork Nuggets - 275 calories, 19 grams fat

Mac & Cheese, 3/8th's of a cup - 76 calories, 3.18 grams fat

Honey Wheat Roll - 110 calories, 3.5 grams fat

Applesauce, 3/8th's of a cup - 73 calories, .17 grams fat

8 Ounces of Milk - 144 calories, .37 grams fat

Total - 678 calories, 26.22 grams fat

Calorie Needs for Children, Teens, Pregnant & Lactating Moms

Children - 1,600 calories per day

Teenage Girls - 2,200 calories per day

Teenage Boys - 2,800 calories per day

Pregnant & lactating women - 2,200 to 2,800 calories per day

When packing your child's lunch, ensure that foods don't risk spoilage.  

If it's hot outside, it's probably best to opt for buying lunch at school.  Again, be sure to encourage your school to offer healthy lunches.

For fundraiser's, encourage healthier items rather than the typical big-sized candy bars that are sold. What about key chains, pencils with cute toppers and so forth?  No spoilage, light when it comes to transporting, and these items contain a lot less calories and fat than those big-sized candy bars.

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