How parents can ease children into healthier eating for school

Posted at 7:09 AM, Sep 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-01 07:09:03-04

RICHMOND, Va -- As the new school year approaches, pediatricians say now is the time for children and parents to adjust eating habits.

Much like sleeping, pediatricians say eating habits shift during the summer -- they eat more sugar-laden foods than they do during the school year. Children and teens can begin by switching over to healthy snacks a week before school starts -- so by the first day of class, the habit is established.

"Sugar can impede sleep, so think about healthy snacks, healthy desserts, fruit and natural sugars, and not a lot of hte processed sugars," said Dr. Tracey Deal, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates.

For parents, nutrition experts recommend planning ahead while at the grocery store. -- including creating a schedule for dinner, planning what children and teens are taking for lunch, and picking snack options.

Another important health habit: eating a good breakfast. Pediatricians say a good first meal of the day can contribute to a successful day in the classroom because it can help students concentrate.

"I always tell my parents, your brain is like a car: it needs fuel, and that's what breakfast is. The fuel that will make your brain work, " said Dr. Deal.

A good breakfast includes a large amount of protein, which can sustain a student through the day, or at least to lunch.

Tune in to CBS 6 This Morning this week for healthy habits during the back-to school season.