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Now that kids are heading back to school, their nutrition, and keeping them rested and healthy for the school year is important. Weight loss expert Robert Ferguson wants to encourage parents to stay on top of their children’s food choices so that they can achieve optimum results during the school year. Here are his tips:

Why is it so important for parents to provide a balanced meal before leaving the house ?

Studies have demonstrated that eating breakfast helps with energy and concentration. Being hungry and attempting to concentrate at school is a strategy for underperformance.

 What foods should be avoided in children’s lunch boxes?

Candy. I am not saying not to give your children candy. I am saying when it comes to lunch boxes, condition your children to expect and desire food to include fruits and healthier alternatives to sweets.

 What are some healthy snacks to buy?

Fruit and vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and apples that can be dipped in ranch dressing, and nut butters like peanut, almond and sunflower.

Why are healthy snacks so important for school-age kids?

Eating and not being hungry is of first importance for school-age kids. The quality of the food made available for snacks sets the foundation for habits that can either support a healthy lifestyle.

What’s a good approach to putting together a healthy lunch?

Go with a 3 to 1 ratio of what goes in a lunch. This equates to 3 things you want them to eat, and 1 thing they would love to eat. Always place a portion of fruit in their lunch box. Then, bread or bagel for a sandwich. The bagel could be topped with a nut butter or you may opt for a sandwich. You could also pack an energy bar and snack pack that could range from goldfish to some brand of crackers.

 How do I know how much food to give my child for lunch?

It all depends. If your child is eating a hot lunch at school, then you will only focus on providing one or two snacks. If they aren’t eating a hot lunch, then you are providing them with a couple of snacks and lunch. Each kid has a different appetite; however, after a few days of monitoring what they ate and didn’t eat after you evaluate their lunch box, you’ll know what is and isn’t enough. Communicate with your child and between their feedback and what you see with their lunch, you’ll hone into what is ideal for their lunch.

What if your child wants to eat the same thing everyday? How can i introduce some new lunch ideas?

Kids can be challenging at times. Do the best you can to provide your child with variety, but at the same time, it isn’t wise to force them to eat foods that they’re not going to eat. Begin with foods you know they like. Before you add a new food to their lunch, maybe after school or over the weekend, have them try it to see if it is going to be a good addition.

Why are we still using the body mass index (BMI) when it is considered to be inaccurate tool?

Not until now have we had an accurate tool for estimating body fat percentage. It is unfortunate, but studies have demonstrated that over 100 million BMI’s are conducted in North America annually and over 50 million people are misclassified as unhealthy and over 20 million as healthy. And it is widely accepted by scientists, universities and even the medical field that the BMI is not accurate in estimating a person’s body composition. Dating back to the early 1830’s when the BMI was created, finally, we have something called the body fact index BMI that FDA cleared and is clinically accurate.

What are some reasonably priced healthy meals for parents on a tight budget?

There’s many cash convenient meal and snack options. Bananas, tomatoes and apples are usually priced right. Potatoes, pasta and rice and beans are typically priced right. There’s many packaged snack including goldfish, crackers and cheese, and energy bars. Dollar General, 99 Cent stores, ALDI and other discount stores offer great deals. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods to eat healthier on a budget.

What are some key words parents need to look out for when reading labels to make sure the snack is healthy?

Fortunately, the FDA has removed trans fats from packaged products. When it comes to snacking, portion size does count, and as it pertains to labels, keep the snacks to no more than 200 calories in a serving. So, when looking at a label, look at what makes a serving and the calories per serving. If you keep snacks to no more than 200 calories, you are less likely to also over indulge in protein, carbohydrates and fat. Also, when snacking, opt for snacks that don’t have more than 350 mg of sodium in a serving.

Where can listeners find you for more information?

Sign our petition at When a person signs our petition, they will be given access to both the ColorQuest app and BFI app. Both are free. You can also learn more about our company HERE.

‘Text Tom” questions answered below:

Can I get more information on the diet program the coach set for his mother?

My mother followed the Diet Free Life Program. You can learn more about this program at There’s also a support group on Facebook at 

On the nutrition label what should we look for in carbohydrates should we intake?

When it comes to snacking, keep snacks to 100-200 calories. This will help ensure you don’t over consume in carbs, fat or protein. 

 If you’re a busy mom and you have to get fast food often, which fast food is okay to feed your child?

Best practices for fast food is to keep options to single foods. For instance, if you get a burger, don’t eat fries or have a soda. If you want fries, balance it with a salad. Or, opt for the kids meals when they’re available. 

What if your child was skinny all through there life and and then goes to college and starts eating all the unhealthy food in and around campus. She graduated and still has the bad eating habits. Me and my husband are in good health so she didn’t grow up like that. What can I do to get her to start eating better?

 Go the extra mile and continue to eat as healthy as you can, and be mindful not to judge your child for their nutrition behavior. Continue to lead by example and they’ll come around.

What would you suggest for lunch for a child who suffers with acid reflux?

A child’s lunch must be made up of foods you know they’ll eat and foods you are aware of that don’t result in acid reflux. 

Are fruit snacks a good snack? How many cookies should we give kids?

Fruit snacks are an option. Choose brands that aren’t made with high fructose corn syrup. When snacking on cookies, keep the portion under 200 calories. That may be 3-4 cookies. 

Can the nutritionist suggest the best way for a 13-year-old boy nearly 400 pounds to start losing wait? I got the exercise part. He’s in Chicago and the kids don’t really go outside.

Be mindful with food options at home. Be as active as you can. Make time for activities like going to park, going for a walk out doors or to the mall and be consistent. Make activity fun and not a chore (work). Most importantly, continue to lead by example. 


Robert Ferguson is a nationally recognized certified nutritionist; fitness expert; television host; motivational speaker; author; CEO of Diet Free Life; and America’s Fat Loss Coach™. He has written three books on nutrition and fitness, authored two evidence based studies on reversing childhood obesity and weight loss; he currently serves on the Presidential Task Force on Obesity for the National Medical Association.

Ferguson serves as the National Wellness Director for SOBA Recovery Centers and co-founded the Show Me Better Health initiative with Aetna, which is an evidence-based practice that is implemented to under-resourced communities. Robert is also the Health Ambassador for Stayhealthy, Inc and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the international company, Modere, Inc.