(CNN) — Proper nourishment can boost performance from the classroom to the soccer field, but a casualty of hectic mornings can often be a good breakfast, or packing a good lunch.
As the new school year gets going, food, for thought.
According to registered dietitian Megan Barna of Washington’s Children’s National Medical Center, starting the day with at least one food from one of the major food groups is a must and having two or three is easier than parents think.
“An example could be something like as easy as an apple, a cheese stick and a whole grain granola bar,” says Barna.
A little variety goes a long way in a lunch box, and can keep kids from seeking sugary snacks elsewhere.
Barna adds, “I talk to a lot of kids who just get really sick of their turkey sandwich or cheese sandwich day in and day out. So maybe varying it, maybe not always doing a sandwich, but some sort of dipper, like for example, peanut butter or almond butter. You could dip a fruit in there, you could dip a whole grain in there. And that makes it a little bit more exciting, a little bit more interesting.”
For chronic breakfast and lunch skippers, Barna advises framing discussions about healthy eating, differently.
“Whether it’s sports, their academic performance, their mood or energy level, you want to talk about how that could impact what they care about. We want to have them more involved in the discussion, along with these actual choices, whenever we’re at the store,” Barna explains.
Introduce them to different fruits and vegetables while shopping and ask which ones they’d like to try.
The goal, for healthy habits at home, to stick at school, or wherever kids make their own choices.