Preschooler Nutrition Tips

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Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Start your child's day off right - with a healthy breakfast. Although pouring your preschooler a bowl of sugary cereal may be easy, it is not very healthy. Popular kids cereals with a high-glycemic index cause a quick peak in blood sugar, which then drops dramatically, leaving your child hungry again and sluggish. Low-glycemic foods like oatmeal are absorbed more slowly so blood sugar levels stay even and energy lasts longer. Here are some balanced breakfast ideas, each with the right amount of protein and complex carbohydrates.

  1. Scrambled eggs, toast, orange juice

  2. Plain yogurt, Grape Nuts cereal, fresh fruit mixed in

  3. Veggie omelet, bran muffin, milk

  4. Whole-grain pancakes or waffles topped with fresh berries, milk

  5. Oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon, milk

  6. Whole-grain bagel topped with cream cheese, apple juice

  7. French toast topped with strawberries, milk

  8. Grilled cheese sandwich using whole-grain bread and low-fat cheese

  9. Peanut butter and banana slices on whole-grain bread, milk

  10. Fruit smoothie using fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt

If you don't have time to cook a healthy breakfast, keep fresh fruit and low-fat cheese sticks available for your preschooler to eat on the go.


Lunch Ideas

A lunch you make yourself is so much healthier than any pre-packaged foods you can buy. Although the pre-packaged items may be more convenient, they can be detrimental to your child's health if eaten on a daily basis. Here are some suggestions for what to make for your preschooler's lunch.

turkey or peanut butter sandwich
slice of pizza
chicken nuggets
spaghetti & meatballs
tuna salad or egg salad
ham and cheese slices
leftovers from last night's dinner

Be sure to include a vegetable. A great way to get preschoolers to eat their veggies is by offering them raw with some dip. Pack a ziploc of carrots or cucumbers with a small container of ranch dressing.

Instead of cookies or candy, pack fruit for your preschooler. Bananas, clementines, strawberries, apples, or grapes are excellent choices.

Don't send food that you know your child doesn't really like. She won't eat it, and then she'll be hungry for the rest of the day.

If your child's school offers treats such as ice cream or soda, consider sending him with money for ice cream once per week, and only if he has received a good report from his teacher.

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Susan Sayour