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Breakfast is best

Don't forget about breakfast – it's truly the most important meal of the day. Kids who eat breakfast learn better, stay focused and even score higher on tests. Plus, they weigh less than those who don't eat breakfast and have more energy throughout the day. Serving a hearty, balanced breakfast can go a long way toward developing healthy kids and schools.

Packing lunch and snacks

Children often eat up to half their daily calories at school, so it’s important they get the right stuff. School lunch menus can provide good choices, but as a family you may decide a lunch from home is the way to go. For a better-for-you lunchbox that delivers long-lasting learning power, choose foods from at least three food groups:

  • Fruits and Veggies: make them the "star" of the meal
  • Grains: like whole-grain bread or crackers
  • Dairy: like low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese (kids love string cheese)
  • Protein: like lean meat, beans, nuts, eggs and nut butter (peanut butter,
    almond butter)
  • Healthy fats: from foods like nuts, nut butter, or avocados

Get more better-for-you lunchbox ideas.

Parents: Get involved

Most schools participate in the National School Lunch Program and Breakfast Program, which have nutrition guidelines for schools to follow. They also have school food policies and guidelines for snacks and other classroom food/treats. Parents, you can get involved by making sure you support your child – and all students – in advocating for better food choices. One great place to start is by bringing something better-for-you as a classroom snack or treat when it's your child's turn—like fruit kabobs or kale chips.

If you're not sure about your school’s lunch program and food policies, talk with your child's teacher, the PTA or other parent organizations about ways to spread the word and get families involved in making better choices.