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Friday August 11, 9:00 am Eastern Time

Press Release

SOURCE: American Dietetic Association

Send Kids Back to School with Good Nutrition American Dietetic Association Offers Tips

CHICAGO, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Help your child make the honor roll this year; the nutrition honor roll that is. Nutrition and learning go hand in hand and kids who are nutritionally fit are more likely to have the energy, stamina and self-esteem that enhance their ability to learn and be active. The American Dietetic Association offers some ``study tips'' to help ensure a successful school year.

Start kids out with a healthy breakfast. For children and teens a morning meal is especially important. ``After eight to 12 hours without a meal or snack, a child's body needs fuel,'' says Althea Zanecosky, a Philadelphia, Penn., registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. ``Breakfast prepares children to meet the challenges of learning.''

Research shows that breakfast skippers often feel tired, irritable or restless in the morning, but those who regularly eat a morning meal have a better attitude towards school and have more energy by late morning. ``Kids who eat breakfast tend to have more strength and endurance, and better concentration and problem-solving ability,'' Zanecosky says.

Studies suggest breakfast not only has a significant effect on learning, it may help control weight and reduce the risk for heart disease. ``Breakfast eaters are less likely to be ravenously hungry for mid-morning snacks or lunch and they tend to eat less fat during the day, too,'' Zanecosky says.

Don't let kids use the excuse of not being hungry. Even eating a small breakfast can help restore needed fuel for the morning. ``Make breakfast fun by planning it with your child; decide who prepares what and work together to get it done,'' Zanecosky says. ``If your child doesn't like traditional breakfast foods, don't worry -- breakfast can be any food they like, even a slice of pizza.''

The kinds of food kids eat for breakfast can make a big difference in energy levels. When a breakfast consists mostly of sugary foods, such as fruit, fruit juice, candy or pop, a quick rise in blood sugar occurs, causing a rush of energy. After about an hour, blood sugar and energy decline, bringing on symptoms of hunger. A balanced breakfast, consisting of foods containing carbohydrate, sugar, protein and fat, gives a constant release of energy, delaying symptoms of hunger for several hours. ``Breakfast should be included as part of an overall healthy eating plan,'' says Zanecosky.

Keep quick-to-fix foods on hand or get breakfast foods ready the night before, if time is an issue. Breakfast cereal, bagels, toaster waffles, yogurt, canned and fresh fruit, juice, milk, cheese and cottage cheese are all good options. Or, bring your breakfast with you: a carton of yogurt; a bagel spread with peanut butter; or grapes, crackers and cheese.

``Overall, a well-nourished child is a ready-to-learn child,'' Zanecosky says. ``Food nourishes at every age and stage in a child's life and proper nutrition is crucial for social emotional and psychological development. Teaching children how to eat healthy will enable them to establish a foundation of good nutrition and healthful lifestyle habits.''

For more information on back to school nutrition, log onto ADA's new Web site at www.eatright.org . The American Dietetic Association is the largest organization of food and nutrition professionals in the world. With headquarters in Chicago, ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. ADA -- Your link to nutrition and health.(SM)

SOURCE: American Dietetic Association

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