Back to school nutrition tips from a dietitian

NORFOLK Va., - It's hard enough to get the kids up in the morning and at the bus stop on time. Occasionally, that means breakfast just doesn't happen.

I have a lot of kids skipping breakfast and skipping lunch and that’s the first thing they need to start changing,” Haney said

CHKD dietitian Mary Jo Haney works closely with parents. Her motto this school year - new habits starting with the first meal of the day.

“Normally on the weekends we do big style family breakfast where we are all sitting around the table. But during the week everybody has to be at a certain place at a certain time so breakfast is very important, mostly we will start with our morning with either cereal and a fruit,” Watkins said.

Between blogging and two energetic kids, Bernadette Watkins has her hands full.

“Prepare ahead of time so I know what they’re going to eat so they’re not going towards potato chips things that they shouldn’t be eating we try to keep an eye on that because they all tend to go to those on healthier snacks especially if you don’t have something ready,” Watkins said.

Haney recommends parents take time on Sunday afternoons to meal prep.

When the kids are running late in the morning or come home after a late practice in the evening, they should still get the nutrients they need.

“If they have practice from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. they should come home and eat a dinner after that,” Haney said.

That sounds ideal, but for mom and dad living with a picky eater, Watkins says she found smoothies can be a sneaky way to get those vegetables in her daughter’s diet.

“Actually, she ate quite a bit and got a lot of nutrients that way just by doing juicing and smoothies,” Watkins said.

However you get the kids to eat, just make sure your goal is always quality food, said Haney.

"There’s a lot of studies that correlate poor diet to poor performance in school, even depression,” Haney added.

Access My Plate Guide here.