Rivertowns Enterprise Back To School 2013

Page 12

Page 12A | The Rivertowns Enterprise | Friday, August 23, 2013 – Back to School

Back to Nutrition Back to Healthy eating habits By JOHN ROCHE


he beginning of a new school year offers kids and their parents a fresh start to either kick off healthier eating habits or nutritionally get back on track after summer vacation. “It is actually a great time to start a family conversation about food and physical activity,” said Erica Leon, a registered dietitian in Ardsley with over 25 years of professional experience working with adults, children and families, who specializes in nutrition therapy for eating disorders, obesity and weight management. “Topics can include when to buy lunch at school, how often, what some healthy choices might be, how to plan for snacks after school as well as input from kids about meal planning. When kids are involved in the planning and even preparation of meals, they often try a wider variety of foods. It’s also a good time for parents to reflect on the importance of family meals as a time for communication, togetherness and healthy role modeling.” Kathleen Schoen, a clinical nutritionist

based in Katonah, agrees: “Back to school is a great time for parents to speak with their kids about nutrition. Food has a huge impact not only on your child’s health, but on their academic performance. There are many topics for parents to discuss with kids about their eating habits, but what stands out most to me is teaching mindful eating; learning to know when you’re hungry and not just bored, chewing your food and eating without distractions. This teaches serious life skills.” Linda Arpino, MA, RD, CDN, also urges parents to start the school year off right with their children, no matter what grade level, regarding healthy lifestyle choices. “Helping children learn how to plan meals ahead to assure nutrient density that fuels the brain and helps in school and all sports and activities,” Arpino said. “Focus on nutrient dense meals with lots of color from fruits and vegetables and whole grains, not Fruit Loops.” While the local nutritional experts encouraged parents to take an active role in the dietary lives of their growing children, they also realize it can be a challenge for mothers and fathers to balance actually telling their kids what to eat and enabling them to make healthy choices on their own. Schoen urges parents to include their continued on page


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