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Back to School Tips

Give Kids the Fuel They Need with Good Nutrition

Summer is coming to an end and kids are getting back into the swing of school. Now is the time to take a closer look at what kind of fuel they are starting each day with.

The type and variety of foods that children eat can affect their academic and physical performance, mood, behavior, and overall well-being.

The bottom line is children need good, healthy food in order to perform at their best. Here are some tips to better fuel kids for school, sports and extracurricular activities:

Foods to avoid

Think twice about giving your children foods with labels listing food additives, colors, preservatives, or chemical names you can't pronounce.

Also avoid feeding your kids food containing:

  • MSG
  • Artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup
  • Genetically modified foods
  • Trans fat and hydrogenated fat
  • Fruit juice from concentrate
  • White and/or bleached flour products. 
  • Roasted or sugar coated nuts

Healthier options - getting back to basics

Think real food!

Start offering your kids whole fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, grains and unprocessed meats. Choose foods that have not been altered from their natural state.

Whether your child is 2, 12, or 22 it is never too late to change the way you think about food. Here are some healthy lunch and after-school snack choices for your family that offer flavor and variety along with nutritional benefits:


  • Turkey roll up: A whole grain, rice, or corn pita, no nitrate lunch meat, lettuce or other leafy green, sliced tomato and hummus or whipped avocado as a pita dressing.
  • Almond butter sandwich:
    • 2 pieces of whole grain, sprouted grain, or gluten free bread 
    • 1-2 Tablespoons of raw almond butter 
    • ½ cup of mashed fresh berries or an all natural/low sugar fruit preserve


  • A piece of fruit or vegetable slices with raw or natural nut butter
  • Trail mix: mixture of raw nuts and dried raisins, cranberries and pineapple 
  • Mixed berries 
  • Rice crackers and all-natural nut butter 
  • Veggie bag of snow peas, green beans, carrots
  • Fruit leather, dried fruit slices, or fresh fruit 
  • Greek yogurt and dehydrated veggie chips

Tiffany Triner is a Dietary Technician, Wellness Educator, and Chicago Healers Practioner who empathetically works with patients suffering from gastrointestinal issues, food sensitivities, fatigue, anxiety, depression, behavior disorders, weight issues, skin problems, chronic headaches/migraines and general nutrition needs. 

Posted September 2, 2011


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