School-Aged Child Nutrition
School-aged children (ages 6 to 12) continue to need healthy foods and nutritious snacks. They have a consistent but slow rate of growth and usually eat four to five times a day (including snacks). Many food habits, likes, and dislikes are established during this time. Family, friends, and the media (especially TV) influence their food choices and eating habits. School-aged children are often willing to eat a wider variety of foods than their younger siblings. Eating healthy after-school snacks are important, as these snacks may contribute up to one-third of the total calorie intake for the day. School-aged children have developed more advanced feeding skills, are better at feeding skills, and are able to help with meal preparation.
The following are some helpful mealtime hints for school-aged children:
- Always serve breakfast, even if it has to be "on the run." Some ideas for a quick, healthy breakfast include the following:
- cheese toast
- peanut butter sandwich
- Take advantage of big appetites after school by serving healthy snacks such as the following:
- vegetables and dip
- cheese and crackers
- milk and cereal
- Set good examples for eating habits.
- Allow children to help with meal planning and preparation.
- Serve meals at the table, instead of in front of the television, to avoid distractions.
Healthy food choices
A healthy eating routine is important at every stage of life and can have positive effects that add up over time. MyPlate is a guideline to help you and your child eat a healthy diet. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has prepared MyPlate to guide parents in selecting a vaiety of nutrient rich foods for children at every stage of life.
The benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter. Start Simple with MyPlate.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: focus on whole fruits.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: vary your veggies.
- Make half your grains whole grains.
- Vary your protein routine.
- Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt (or lactose-free dairy or fortified soy versions).
For more information about MyPlate, visit https://www.myplate.gove/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate