Most of your child’s day is spent at school. They stay there for a minimum of six to seven hours, and if they participate in after-school sports, they are there even longer. Therefore, they depend on you for their nutrition. Consequently, you must provide your child with healthy meals, snacks, and a strategy. You can’t rely on the school cafeteria because it’s full of processed snacks and fast foods.
Preparing nutritious food and teaching your child to eat correctly will stabilize their hunger throughout a long day.
Breakfast, Breakfast, Breakfast!
If your child eats a good breakfast, they most likely will not be hungry until lunchtime. So, for example, you can feed them eggs with toast and some oatmeal or yogurt before heading off to school. Digestion of breakfast will take a few hours, delaying their hunger. Eggs are perfect for your child to have, especially if they play sports. Avoid greasy or oily foods like bacon in the morning; it will only make them sluggish and tired.
If they need, Snack.
It is difficult to eat before the designated lunchtimes at school. But some quick snacks will help your child if needed to get through until lunch. For example, if they need a snack, eat a banana, and drink a glass of water. This will help swell the stomach to feel full for another hour or so. Or you can choose simple things like trail mix, sliced apples, or grapes and put them in a zip lock bag. And in between classes, they can chow down. It’s quick and easy, but you must educate your child about good nutrition and energy and teach them to identify what is a junk snack.
These are just a few things you can do to help keep your child focused on learning in class and not on their hunger. If your child is hungry, it will divert their attention and lead to fatigue.
Lunch is the chance to have more of a dense type of food now that the body is awake and the metabolism is churning. Always stick to protein, carbs, and just a little bit of fat. Rice and beans are a powerful energetic combo that has lots of energy to get through the day. It is light, healthy, and filling all at the same time. You can also make them a chicken sandwich with a side of vegetables.
Lunch is an excellent time to eat a denser meal to get your child through the rest of the school day. And it is essential if your child is going to hit the field around 3-4 PM for practice.
Before Sports Practice
Before practice, your child should have something more to eat than trail mix. If it is all they have, then so be it. Something is better than nothing. But you can prepare them a meal that is still powerful and filling enough to provide them with the energy they need for their sport. For example, a sandwich can be one of the simplest and very healthy meals. Peanut butter and jelly on whole-wheat bread will give your child a lot of energy. They will still have a few hours before practice, so the timing is perfect.
Other things your child can eat are hardboiled eggs with a side of fruit. You can also use whey protein shakes blended with fruits too. Before practice, you must think; easy, quick, and healthy energy. Snacks, for instance, during school can be lighter because of timing. However, those snacks are just to stop their blood sugar from crashing. But before practice, you need some food density.
After school, depending on how your child arrives home, you can have a sandwich or any snack ready for them. For example, chocolate milk is excellent for after-school and posts sports practice. And when it is dinner time, your child will eat their main meal.
Make Snack Bars
Instead of handing your child a protein bar and telling them to have a good day at school, learn to make snack bars! For example, you can make morning breakfast or afternoon bars and make them for the week. This gives you control over their food, and you can make healthy snacks rather than handing your child something processed.
You can make snack bars with the perfect amounts of protein and carbohydrates that can be eaten in two minutes before a class. And they can be the ideal traveling food on the way home or before and after practice snacks. Snack bars are nutritious and delicious.
Habits, such as changing and running from class to class, are essential to building structure, especially in school. For instance, make a healthy breakfast for your child to eat. Then, tell them to snack on a banana and trail mix and drink a glass of water changing between mid-morning classes. Eat Lunch. Have a snack bar after school or before practice. After practice, have a protein fruit smoothie to replace energy quickly. The protein fruit smoothie is essential after practice. You need to eat within 20 minutes post-activity to replace up to 60% of your energy. The more time you wait, the longer it takes to restore. And then, dinner at home.
Teaching good eating habits will build a healthy lifestyle for your child as they get older. If they get used to eating fast, cafeteria, and convenience store food, they will eat in an unhealthy way. And the foods they will eat and choose will not be suitable for them for school or sport. Many of those foods are empty calories, meaning they don’t sustain hunger, leading to obesity and disease.
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