Tips To Get On The Right Track


Back to School Nutrition Guide: Tips to help kids succeed in school

 from Sylvia Melendez, MS RD


Hard to believe we are back to school!  What a better time to buckle up and get the family back on track for the new school year. Many parents worry about keeping the family healthy so I have provided a few tips to get you get your family on the right track to a healthy lifestyle.


Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Studies show that kids who eat breakfast have better long-term and short-memory and can recall information better than those who don’t eat breakfast.  Breakfast-eaters also have better test grades and school attendance—and even better moods. If your kids skip on breakfast they are prone to consume more and burn less calories throughout the day due to hunger.  It could be harder for hungry kids to concentrate and learn.

Top 10 breakfast ideas:

  1. Yogurt with berries top with granola
  2. High fiber cold cereal with low fat milk and strawberries
  3. Toast with peanut butter and apple slices
  4. Bagel with low fat cream cheese and banana
  5. Muffin, pear and low fat milk or yogurt
  6. How about peanut butter and jelly rolled up in a whole-wheat tortilla? Grab an apple and some fat-free milk and you’re all set.
  7. Toast a whole-wheat bagel half and top it with reduced-fat cheese and tomato slices. Add a glass of grapefruit juice.
  8. Dip into hummus (chick pea dip) with high-fiber crackers, and enjoy a cluster of grapes on the side.
  9. Have a hard-boiled egg with whole-wheat bread sticks and a glass of tomato juice.
  10. Raid the fridge for “unbreakfast-like” options such as a slice of cold cheese pizza with a glass of orange juice.

The last five ideas are a bit off-beat, which goes to show you can have fun with breakfast—and still make it quick and nutritious.


Think small

Pay attention at what the kids are eating and provide the right selections when it comes to meal portions. Portions should be given according to their age and activity level.


Keep them fueled

Keep in mind that kids have active schedules and may need a snack from time to time. Add a snack to their back packs; especially if they participate in extracurricular activities or greet them with healthy snacks when they come home. 


Here is a list of a few healthy snacks (100 Calories and under) your kids will love:

  • ½ small cantaloupe or 1 small banana
  • 4 cubes of low fat cheese
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) fat free yogurt
  • 6 large cucumber slices dipped in lime juice
  • 1 frozen fruit juice bar
  • ½ cup wheat cereal with ½ cup skim milk
  • 1 medium orange or 20 grapes
  • 2 cups fat free popcorn sprinkled with your favorite seasoning (rosemary, Italian seasonings, chilli powder, etc.)
  • 10 whole roasted almonds


Provide a variety of nutritious foods 

The school lunch provides well balance meals, but It is also the parent’s responsibility to provide a variety of healthy meals at home. Include fruits and vegetables with each meal. In addition, include low fat milk and/or low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats such as fish twice a week), whole-grain breads and cereals and every now and then surprise them with a treat.  


Plan your weekly meals together

Planning your other meals together is a great tool for making sure you provide them with favorites, but also with foods with high nutrient value. 


Get Moving

All physical activity contributes to better health, but you also need about 30 - 60 minutes of cardiovascular activities each week for optimum heart health. Walking just a few extra minutes a day may lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and may raise healthy cholesterol (HDL). Exercise doesn’t have to be a trip to the gym: choose physical activities that involve the whole family such as bicycling, soccer, dancing or walking the dog.


Be a Role Model

Research shows that mothers are one of the main sources of health information in the family and often serve as role models for their daughters. Set an example for your family by eating healthy and staying active yourself and encouraging healthy activities you can do together as a family such as cooking  meals, gardening or talking a walk.


Stress Less

Remember to schedule a little time for fun relaxation. Reduce daily stress with exercise, friendships, group affiliations, hobbies and laughing. For a special treat, get away for the weekend to any place you can escape with family and friends.