Poor nutrition can have long-lasting effects on a child's development, school performance and relationships. Further, unhealthy eating habits during childhood can increase a child's risk for becoming overweight and developing chronic diseases such as diabetes later in life.
An important way parents can ensure that their child is adequately prepared for school each day is by seeing that their child eats nutritiously. Establishing healthy eating habits as a child can pave the way for a lifetime of better health.
-- Begin with breakfast
As a first step, make sure your child always begins each day with breakfast. Research studies have shown that students who eat breakfast do better work compared to those who skip it. Children who skip breakfast also tend to tire more quickly, be more irritable and react less quickly than those who eat breakfast.
Depending on how much time you have in the morning, breakfast can be simple or elaborate, cooked or uncooked and eaten sitting down or on-the-run. For children who don't enjoy traditional breakfast foods like milk and cereal or toast, use your imagination. Consider offering pieces of cheese, a peanut butter sandwich, oatmeal cookies, fruit, yogurt, or even last night's leftover pizza. The key is to choose foods that provide energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.