Nutrition and Eating
Your grade-schooler is full of energy. Their bodies are growing, and they are constantly on the move. If it seems like they eat too frequently, there's no cause to worry, unless they are gaining excess weight. Children at this age often need to eat every four hours or so to make sure their energy stays at an even level. After-school snacks are important to keep them going until dinner time.
Try to plan after-school snacks, just as you would regular meals. Avoid just letting your grade schooler graze in the kitchen, the results will be devastating as they will tend to go for the sugary snacks that are high in calories. Way too many American kids are overweight because they don't get enough activity, and they eat too many fatty, sugary foods. Consider keeping a variety of fruits on hand, as well as whole grain snacks such as bagels or muffins. Protein foods such as cheese, yogurt, or peanut butter are also good snacks. Keep fat and sugar to a minimum.
Grade schoolers like to eat, and they do so frequently, but they often have an aversion to vegetables. This can be overcome. Sometimes the aversion is simply because of poor preparation. Cooking vegetables into mush is enough to turn anyone away from them. Surprising as it may seem, fresh vegetables are often a great snack that kids enjoy. Celery pieces with peanut butter is an excellent example. When you go to the market, take your grade schooler with you and let them help you pick out vegetables. Better yet, if you have a garden, let them help grow and pick them. Children to be able to eat something they grew themselves!
Calcium is important in your grade schooler's diet, and the USDA recommends two or three servings of dairy products a day. Substituting soft drinks for milk and other healthy drinks at every meal is a dangerous practice. Children with an inadequate intake of calcium have been shown to be shorter, and have smaller bones and lower bone density than children who consumed the USDA requirement every day.