Parents trying to curb a child's haphazard summertime eating habits may find help in the back-to-school routine, according to pediatric nutrition specialist Peggy Papathakis, a registered dietitian with the Dairy Council of California.
"It's hard for active kids to stay on a regular schedule in the summer, and they tend to skip meals and snack on high-calorie extra foods and soft drinks," said Papathakis, also with the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
"Going back to school automatically changes their routine, and parents can use the structure to refocus them on more nutrient-dense, core foods," she said.
Nutritionists recommend core foods from the four food groups because of the abundance of nutrients they contain. Milk and dairy foods are high in protein, and contribute calcium, vitamins A and D, riboflavin, potassium and other nutrients.