CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Getting a child dressed and ready for school in the mornings can be a challenge. But add to the list packing a lunch and eating a balanced breakfast, and catching the bus may seem like an impossible feat.
“When you’re rushing in the morning to get ready for work and send your child to school, it’s easy to skip a balanced breakfast and to choose pre-packaged products for your child’s lunch,” said Jennifer Ruby, licensed dietitian nutritionist with Summit Endocrinology, an affiliate of Summit Health.
Although it can take a little more planning, healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, dental cavities, iron deficiency, and osteoporosis. A balanced breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function, reduced absenteeism, and improved mood.
To beat the morning rush, plan ahead for the week by dividing food into smaller bags or containers, Ruby recommends.
Some tasty and healthy options:
- Choose 100 percent whole wheat/whole grain bread over white bread.
- Make sandwiches with protein-packed peanut butter or lean meats, such as turkey, tuna, ham or roast beef.
- Add fruits and vegetables to satisfy sweet or crunchy cravings.
- Quench thirst with beverages such as plain or flavored water or 1% or skim milk.
- Limit juice servings to four ounces per day. Even 100% fruit juice contains just as many calories and sugar grams as soda. Choose a piece of fresh fruit instead.