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If you’re a working parent, it’s often tempting and easy to toss a pop tart at your kid in the morning, grab some sort of processed lunch and call it a day. While the demands of… make that approach a necessity sometimes, long term it’s not the best for a child’s development, school performance, and even behavior.

Each meal is an opportunity to feed more than just a child’s stomach. Dietician Meridan Zerner from the Cooper Clinic says “according to the CDC, the Centers For Disease control, they’re saying ‘wow, our kids, 40% of what they’re taking in, in terms of their food, is really kind of processed”

Zerner says such a diet is not going to help children do better on tests, help them focus or with behavior.

She offers some simple solutions to make it simple and easy. First, she says make sure your using a meal template that includes a protein source, fruits and veggies, healthy carbs and calcium.

Zerner says children need 3 sources of calcium a day.

Getting your kids involved is also key to building lifelong habits. Have them help you put together their lunches and task them with something like finding a protein source.

For more information on Meridan Zerner visit