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School Nutrition                           

Introduction: Children require eating varieties of foods from all food groups (milk, fruits,vegetables, grains, meat and oil) in proper amounts to ensure adequate growth and development. Brain function and the ability of the students to think and to do well at schools depend on the foods they consume. In addition, proper nutrition helps students to grow properly, improves their immunity against infection, and participates in their social life and schools activities.

Proper nutrition is vital for school aged students and provides the stepping stones to better life at present and future. While poor nutrition increases their risks of

obesity or underweight, diabetes, weak bones, mental illness, anemia, heart disease and affect their education, learning abilities, activity level and growth.

School aged student need energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat, calcium, iron, in addition to other vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional Tips for School Aged Student

 Parents should ensure the availability of healthy foods at home and that their students consume healthy meals and snacks. Parents and teachers should lead by example and be role models for students.

Parents and teachers should ensure the availability of healthy snacks at school canteens.

 Students should consume their healthy breakfast at home before going to school. Breakfast supports their learning abilities, attention, memory and should include:

Low-fat or nonfat milk to provide calcium and Vitamin

Whole grains bread or unsweetened cereals fortified with iron, calcium and

Vitamin D

Protein such as eggs or low-fat cheese or low-fat labnah or peanut butter

Fresh fruits or dried fruits or unsweetened juice. Fruits rich in Vitamin C are recommended such as oranges.

Skipping breakfast is not healthy for students and affects their learning abilities. In addition, it’s not recommended to provide sugary drinks, white bread, sweetened cereals and sausages at the breakfast meals at these items are unhealthy and lead to health problems in the future.

 Balancing their meals with their physical activities. Students should be encouraged to practice activities and be enrolled in sports at schools.

 Choosing milk and it’s product to provide adequate calcium and Vitamin D. Low-fat or nonfat are preferred.

 Including whole grains, fruits and vegetables in the meals to provide adequate fiber and other nutrients.

 Preparing the meals by healthy methods such as baking or steaming or grilling rather than frying. This will ensure avoidance of excessive caloric intake that may contribute to obesity.

 Selecting low-fat and low cholesterol foods and avoidance of pastries preferred with saturated or trans-fat such as ghee or margarine or butter.

 Selecting foods moderate in sugar and limiting sugary drinks, sodas, chocolates, sweetened cereals, creamy biscuits, and candies, as these don’t contain important nutrients for the student and may lead to dental carries, obesity and replace important foods for students.

 Selecting foods low in salt and limiting salty snacks such as chips, popcorns, nuts.

 Choosing foods rich in iron to avoid student develop anemia. Iron is found in fortified cereals, egg yolk, lean meat, cooked legumes and green leafy vegetables.

 Proper snacks at schools are whole grain sandwiches stuffed with low-fat cheese or eggs or peanut butter or labnah along with fresh fruits or unsweetened juices and low-fat or nonfat milk or labnah or yogurt.

 Teachers should explain the importance of proper nutrition to students and encourage them to consume health breakfast at home and healthy snacks at schools. Schools curriculum should emphasize the importance of healthy eating and proper nutrition for students to help them avoid in nutrition and lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, weak bones, heart diseases and some types of cancer. Student’s dietary habits and eating patterns may carry into their adulthood and affect their health in the future.

 Schools should emphasize the importance of safety and hygiene for students at schools and encourage practicing hand washing and safe games at schools.

Healthy snacks for Student

 

Student meals should be well-balanced and nutritious to meet their requirements for growth and wellbeing. The meals should be divided in to 3 main and 2-3 snacks. Snacks for student are important to be healthy. The following list includes some examples for healthy snacks for student.

Milk, laban or yogurt (preferred low fat or non- fat for the student above 2 years of age)

Fruit yogurt (preferred unsweetened and made with low-fat or nonfat milk)

Fruit muffin made with whole  flour and unsweetened

Fresh Fruits (cut into different shapes and sizes).  Fruits with bright colors are recommended such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, grapes and apples

Vegetables raw or cooked (cut into different shapes and sizes).  Vegetables with bright colors are recommended such as tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, spinach, carrots, green pepper

Fruit Pudding made with low-fat and nonfat milk

Sandwiches made with whole wheat bread, cut into various shapes and sizes, stuffed with low-fat cheese, egg slices, low-fat labnah, hummus, tuna, skinless chicken, peanut butter.

Fat free air popcorn

Dried Fruits

Pizza made with whole wheat flour with low-fat cheese or skinless chicken and vegetables

Milk – Fruit Shakes, made with low-fat or nonfat milk blended with fresh fruits, topped with some nuts or cinnamon powder

Laban-Dates Shake made with low-fat laban and fresh or dried dates blended and topped with some nuts or cinnamon powder

Baked potatoes topped with low-fat cheese

Zaatar Sandwich made with whole wheat with pita bread stuffed with cucumber and low-fat labnah or low-fat cheese

Fruit cubes and cheese cubes on kebab stick

SDo you know that healthy foods make you strong, smart and active?

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Unsweetened Whole Grain Cereals and Whole Wheat Bread

Low Fat Milk, Butter Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, and Labnah

Eggs

Crunchy Peanut Butter

Fresh Fruits and Unsweetened Fruit Juices.

For Snacks, select (plain popcorn, oat Biscuits, fruit bars, low fat fruit yogurt)

Dried Fruit, e.g.  Dried Apricots or Dates

Brown Rice and Pasta

Skinless Chicken or Turkey, Fish and Lean Meat

Tins of Salmon, Sardines and Tuna

Small Pots of Hummus

Select Fruits with bright colors, such as berries, plums, apricots, apples, pears and oranges.

Select Vegetables with bright colors, such as tomatoes, carrots, green pepper, lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkins, spinach, red peppers, and potatoes

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Sweetened Juices

Power Drinks

Soft Drinks

Candies

Chocolate Bars

chips

sweetened pastries and cake

Sausages

Chicken Nuggets

Salted Nuts

Flavored and sweetened milk or yogurt

Commercial Pudding

 

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