Have You Ever Wondered

  • how you know if your child is eating right? Start by asking: Is my child growing well? Does he or she have energy to play and learn? If so, he or she probably is eating enough. Your child's doctor, pediatric nurse, or a registered dietitian can help you monitor your child's growth and development by plotting his or her progress on a growth chart. The other question to ask: Is your child eating a variety of foods and enough from the five food groups of MyPyramid? If so, he or she probably is getting enough nutrients to grow well.
  • if your child gets enough to drink? Active children need eight or more cups of water during the day, as you do. Children perspire with active play, even outside in cold weather when they're bundled up. Just plain water is great for replenishing fluids; bring some along if you plan to be out for longer than an hour, or go on an extended car trip. Kids may drink more water if it's offered in appealing "sports bottles." Check chapter 19 if your child is involved in sports.

slices or cubes, string cheese, whole fruit, individual containers of pudding, or an oatmeal cookie. If you pack an orange, score the rind so it's easy to peel—or tuck in a tangerine instead! It's okay to pack a brownie or a small bag of chips as part of a healthful bag lunch. Kids may need the extra energy they supply.

  • Expect children to help plan and prepare their school lunches. When they're involved, they'll probably eat every morsel—rather than trade their raw veggies for someone else's cookie.
  • Remind kids to store their carried meals at school in a clean, safe place—away from sunlight and the heat vent in the classroom and not in a dirty gym bag!
  • Hint: Add extra pleasure to a carried meal with an occasional surprise tucked inside—a riddle, a comic, or a note that says, "You're somebody special!" Knowing that someone cares is "nourishing" in its own way.

See "Carry It Safe " in chapter 12.

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