It’s that time of the year again: Back to School! We know that this time of the year can have a lot of excitement, but also some stressors, especially for those out there with kids. We know how much of an impact schools can have on kids and their nutrition. From the messages they receive in health classes or that they hear from peers to the types of foods available for them to eat during the day, there can be many challenges that get in the way of developing positive eating habits in kids.
We wanted to just give a couple helpful tips for the start of the year:
1). Talk to your children’s teachers or nurses about healthy food talk. Healthy food talk should be more about the nutrients obtained in foods, rather than labeling foods as “good” vs. “bad”. Discussing diets and controlling food intake in such ways like calorie counting is not recommended, especially for children and adolescents and instead we should trust children to be able to know their own needs and listen to their own hunger/fullness cues.
2). Avoid focusing on weight or BMI in front of your children. BMI and weight are not measures of health and no children/adolescent should be on a “diet.”
3). Have a conversation around what your children are learning about nutrition in health class, so that you are aware and can help if there is any mixed messages over food positivity.
4). If you start to observe any change in behaviors that seem abnormal or harmful, i.e. calorie counting, skipping meals, or avoiding certain foods, talk to your child about it.
5). Make sure that your child has a set meal/snack time during a school day that allows them to not go too long without eating.