Special Report: Nutrition for the growing mind

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Tuesday is day #2 of Super Mom Week and NEWS10ABC continues our look at how we as moms and dads can best help our children thrive; whether it’s in the classroom, on the field in sports, or at home.

A big part of that is making sure your children are eating right so they can be at their best, especially in school, where focus and attention are so important. Hitting the mark with the proper nutrition isn’t always easy, but it’s doable.

SuperMom

The Glynn family of Clifton Park is busy, like most! But mom, a reading teacher, makes time to feed her children wholesome foods, so they stay focused in school. That includes healthy snacks.

“It’s cheese sticks, it’s yogurt tubes, it’s fruit first,” said mom, Jennifer Glynn.

Hannaford registered dietician, Kathy Sirianni-Blood says involve the family in good nutrition.

“Depending on the age of the child, you want to bring them on board,” said Kathy Sirianni-Blood.

“We might sit down and as a family come up with what are we going to have this day, and this day, said Jennifer.

plate

A good rule is to visualize a plate. Half should be vegetables and fruit. One quarter should be protein – like chicken, fish, beans, nuts and lean, unprocessed red meat or pork. The other quarter is exclusive to whole grains – like whole grain bread and pasta, quinoa, or brown rice. Finally, add a side serving of dairy – like low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese. The big thing: avoid drinks filled with sugar.

“Soda we have to think of as liquid candy,” said Dietician Sirianni-Blood.

It’s all about balance. But then there’s reality.

“It’s super busy and there are unexpected things that come up,” said mom, Jennifer Glynn. “You try to make the best choices you can, good, better, best,” she continued.

Sweetened Greek yogurt is a good breakfast choice. Diluting that with plain yogurt to control sugar is better, and best is plain yogurt with fresh fruit and whole grain cereal. Jennifer’s son Cameron is in high school. He makes his own yogurt/fruit smoothie the night before, because mornings are hectic. Breakfast is critical, but many kids skip it.

“And then they don’t have a lot for lunch and then they’re complaining they’re so hungry,” said Cameron.

For a timesaver, make a hard-boiled egg the night before. Just add whole grain toast and fruit. A veggie egg omelet is great, and if they’re stuck on sugary cereals – think compromise. They can sprinkle some on a plain cereal or whole grain variety.

“Say you can have a little bit of this, use the word yes a lot, kids don’t like to hear no,” said Dietician Sirianni-Blood.

Berries, loaded with anti-oxidants promote concentration and so do Omega 3 fatty acids in fish and nuts. Kids shouldn’t go more than 3-4 hours between meals. Think three meals and three wholesome snacks per day. Snacks like hummus with carrots, fresh fruit, or peanut butter and crackers.

fruit

As a parent one of the toughest things can be getting your child to eat the nutritious foods, especially when the temptations are everywhere with the cookies and chips as close as their friend’s lunch right next to them, in the cafeteria.

If they loved the spaghetti and meatballs from dinner the night before, that can be a great lunch. Chicken or beef can go in a wrap with lettuce. And sandwiches with either peanut butter or lunch meat work well.  Opt for turkey or ham that’s nitrate free when possible and add some tomato, lettuce or cucumber.

“There’s no nutrition in foods that kids aren’t going to eat, so you have to make sure that they like it,” said Sirianni-Blood.

Then you can allow them a treat, as long as the majority of what they eat is good for them. A little left over Halloween candy is OK every once in a while.

Everything in moderation!

On Wednesday NEWS10ABC will take a look at important nutritional information geared toward student athletes in particular. We’ll check back in with the Glynn’s because 12-year-old Aidan plays on a busy travel soccer team. We’ll tell you what all parents need to keep in mind, to make sure their kids can be at their best on the field and maintain their stamina.

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