As children head back to school, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to celebrate Kids Eat Right Month and give children the nutrition knowledge they need to grow and succeed.
“Back-to-school time is a great opportunity to make sure our children are prepared for the year ahead,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Sara Haas. “One of the most important things we can offer our children is the ability to make healthful food choices, which will benefit them now and as they grow into adults.”
An initiative of the Academy Foundation’s Kids Eat Right program, Kids Eat Right Month is celebrated each August and emphasizes the importance of families and children knowing how to shop smart, cook healthy and eat right, featuring expert advice from registered dietitian nutritionists.
Haas offers fun and easy tips for parents to play an active role in the nutritional education of their children:
“Allowing children to play an active role in food preparation is one of the best ways to get them interested in and to teach them about food. Find age-appropriate tasks for every child, whether it’s setting the table, stirring the pot or chopping the vegetables. Your children not only get to try the new foods they prepare, but they will also get to see other family members enjoying their creations. And teaching your children how to cook healthy meals at a young age will foster knowledge that will last a lifetime.”
At the Store
“Bring your children to the supermarket with you, and teach them how to categorize the foods in your cart into food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Make it fun by allowing them to pick out one new fruit or vegetable they want to try each week. As they learn all of the tasty and healthy foods available, they will eventually be able to help plan the menu at home.”
Kids can focus best when they’re well-nourished. Encourage your children to consume healthy meals and snacks, including participating in breakfast and lunch programs offered at school. “Inquire whether your children’s school offers wellness programs that teach kids about developing a healthy lifestyle. The Academy’s Energy Balance 4 Kids (EB4K) pilot program places registered dietitian nutritionists in the classroom with students. The program has seen improvements in children’s food behavior and has successfully reinforced that healthy eating is a lifelong journey.”
Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eatright.org