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Spotlight on Health

A featured article focusing on a new topic every month. The Health Services Department strives to help each student achieve and maintain an optimum level of health so the student can best develop intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally. We strive to reinforce healthy behaviors and remove health-related barriers to learning.

March 2012

This month’s topic:
Top 5 Nutrition Tips To Practice What We Preach
By: Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD

Whether we like it or not, parents are role models for their children. As children develop, they watch what their parents do and pick up both desirable and undesirable habits. Therefore, if parents want their children to be as healthy as possible, it’s important for parents to practice what they preach.
Here are five tips to be an effective role model for health:
  1. Power of breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It fuels our bodies and minds and kick-starts our metabolism. We tell our kids to eat breakfast, but are we eating breakfast? Make it a priority to spend 10 minutes every morning to sit down with your kids and calmly eat breakfast. Not only will you be spending quality time with them, you’ll also be energizing your own mind and optimizing your own nutrition.
  2. Healthy snacks on-hand: We tell our children to snack right, but are we snacking correctly, too? Are we going to the coffee shop and grabbing a latte and muffin? We can eat the snacks we want our children to eat, too. Having those healthy snacks around will help satisfy hunger and keep everyone energized and fueled. Some healthy snacks are:
    • Yogurt and a medium fruit
    • Almonds and dried fruit
    • Hummus and carrots
  3. Play time – being active with the children: Refraining from TV time is an ongoing battle. We usually tell children to do something else in place of watching the tube. Well, what are we doing? Can we play with them? Taking a walk, playing catch (or rolling a ball with very young children), playing a board game, and reading a book are all activities that can help our children grow and stay active. Not to mention they are a great way to spend some quality time with your children.
  4. Family meal time: What we eat, our children will eat. Serving a variety of foods can help to increase our children’s desire to eat those foods. First, have children participate in the meal planning. Have your kids help you make a list of groceries, bring them to the supermarket to help with shopping, let them peel, chop, or cut the vegetables (depending on what’s age appropriate), and have them set the table. Then, when sitting down together as a family everyone can enjoy the meal that was prepared as a team.
  5. Drinks! Drinks! Drinks! We have all heard repeatedly that soda and juice contain many calories and that children’s intake should be reduced. Well, the same goes for parents, and what better way to teach children than by hydrating yourself properly. When your kids see you drinking caffeinated or sugar-filled drinks, you’re setting an example. If plain water is not good enough, try adding a zero-calorie, zero-sugar flavor packet to the water or drink flavored sparkling water.

Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, is a speaker, educator, and coach in the private practice setting in San Francisco, CA. She specializes in both pediatric and adult weight management by providing customized meal plans the entire family can live with. For more information, please visit her at 
www.mvnutrition.com.

**This article can be viewed on the website,www.superkidsnutrition.com