Nutrition Articles

A Parent's Guide to Nutrition for Kids - Part 2

Lessons 2-4: Breakfast, Flexibility and Limits

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Believe it or not, the nutritional needs of children have not changed in the last 20 years. However, the world they live in certainly has. It is quite a different childhood experience for kids and teens, with fast food restaurants on every corner, big-gulp colas, 50 or more TV channels to surf, text messaging, mall hopping, video games, and iPods. It is important that we update our parental nutrition lessons to help them form the best possible eating habits for life in the 21st century.

If you've mastered Lesson 1: Blueprint for a Healthy Diet, then you're ready to complete your nutrition course in Part 2 of this series, which includes Lessons 2, 3 and 4.

Lesson 2: Breakfast is mandatory
When morning rolls around, your child has gone without food for eight or more hours. Do you plan on sending her out the door without eating until lunchtime? No way! Studies show that children who eat breakfast are more alert—learning and performing better in school—than children who don't eat in the morning.

Children who see their own parents eating breakfast are more likely to eat breakfast themselves. Remember, you need breakfast too! Feed your family's brains and power their bodies with these quick and easy breakfast ideas that will please everyone at the table:
  • Ready-to-eat cereal with fruit and milk (Learn about the best—and worst—choices by reading Breakfast Cereal Scams.)
  • Toasted bagel with cheese
  • Fruit-filled breakfast bar with fruit and yogurt
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast
  • String cheese with rye crisp crackers
  • Read Healthy & Quick Breakfast Ideas for more ideas.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • my question is how much water should a kid drink? - 12/7/2010 5:53:46 AM
  • Be cautious with bagels! Most grocery store bagels are ENORMOUS - and are equal to 4 slices of bread! If you buy bagels, try to get them from a real bagel bakery (like Siegel's) - then they're not so big and full of unneccessary calories and carbs. - 3/13/2009 5:46:28 PM
  • Great article. - 9/7/2008 12:27:16 PM
  • Tuna wrap sounds great! Cole slaw for the family and substitute lettuce for our son. Maybe apple for a change. Thanks! - 9/5/2008 7:42:59 AM
  • awesome. This is the rule I follow at home too. but I find it hard to make good wraps. I need help on that side. No one in my family would touch a tuna wrap. - 8/28/2008 12:53:34 PM
  • I totally agree with "fartacular", my kids wouldn't touch that tuna wrap with a 10-foot pole, My kids do like wraps though. Especially with turkey meat. - 8/16/2008 4:43:17 AM
  • Though I agree with the articles mentality I must say that I don't even know any Adults that would eat the example recipe. - 5/22/2008 8:51:06 AM
    I couldn't agree more with this article. I have a basket on the kitchen table that I keep full of oranges, apples and bananas and the kids really enjoy plain vanilla yogurt and baby carrots. I've found that eliminating the junk foods (or limiting them and putting them out of reach) and making the healthy stuff visible and within reach has gotten my kids to eat healthy snacks. If they have a choice between brownies and fruit- I'm proud to say 9 times out of 10 they choose the fruit. :o) - 3/1/2008 1:42:54 PM
  • I found these ideas helpful in feeding my grandchildren. - 2/11/2008 6:52:03 AM

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