As parents assist their children in getting ready for school, now is an excellent time to introduce healthier meals and snacks that promote nutrition while lowering the risk of obesity.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that students begin the school year with a nutritious breakfast.
Breakfast remains the most important meal of the day. You should start incorporating whole grains into all of your children’s meals:
- Whole-wheat toast, bagel, or English muffin
- Fruit-flavored yogurt
- Cold cereal with Shredded Wheat and Fiber One
- Fruit on top of instant oatmeal
- Smoothies with citrus fruits
If your school provides a lunch program, meal patterns have increased the availability of fruits and vegetables, as well as age-appropriate calorie limits.
The National School Lunch Program is a federally funded program that operates in public and non-profit private schools, as well as residential child care facilities. Any child at a participating school may use the program to purchase a meal.
Meals are reduced based on family income. Snacks are also available after school.
Healthy sandwiches can be made ahead of time and frozen if you prepare school lunches for your children:
- Simple sandwiches with ham, cheese, or turkey
- Salad with chicken or tuna
- Tomato and mozzarella
- Yogurt, carrots, grapes, or berries are all good options.
Making sure your children have the best health insurance coverage is an important tool, and the Affordable Care Act provides a network of marketplaces to assist you in making the best decision.
Furthermore, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides more options for affordability. According to Insurance News, hearing exams for children are covered by 100 percent of CHIP plans.
However, CHIP funding may not be extended, and parents’ out-of-pocket costs may skyrocket.
Check with your state to see what specific children’s programs are available based on your needs and budget.