It’s that time of year again. Summer is coming to an end, and school is back in session! While school days may provide a sense of routine and order for our working families, it also may be a time where children and teens slip back into bad habits. Lets take a look at some dietary and lifestyle suggestions to keep the mind sharp, bodies active, and bring on a successful school year!
Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day
It’s not just an old myth. Studies have shown again and again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While it’s important to keep your energy up with with high-protein, low fat snacks throughout your waking hours, don’t forget to start the day off right.
Our nutritionists always encourage some protein in the morning. Eggs are fast, easy and usually crowd pleasers. If you are trying to keep that cholesterol low, skip the yolk and go for just the egg white. Egg white omelets or scrambles can be paired with a fruit yogurt. Add some healthy seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, chia, sunflower) or nuts (almonds, walnuts) to give your yogurt extra nutritional value.
Kids love smoothies, and can be full of great nutrients to start the day. A sure crowd pleaser is a mixed berry smoothie. Avoiding lactose? Almond or coconut milk make great substitutes for regular milk. Don’t forget the protein powder to make the smoothie a high-power drink.
One of Dr. K’s favorite things in the morning is the Super-Power Green Juice. Though juicing takes time, it is definitely worth the effort. One of his favorite recipes includes kale, celery, ginger, lemon ,spinach and apple.
When fruits and veggies are raw, they hold their most nutritional value. This high power, super tasty drink will definitely give you a kick-start to your morning. In a rush in the mornings? Try juicing in the evening and storing it in the fridge overnight. In the morning rush, you’ll have a cool, tasty beverage to take on the go.
Check out some delicious juicing recipes here:
Healthy Snacks for the LunchBox
The school cafeteria can be the home to greasy hamburgers, pizza, chips and sugary drinks. Lets take a look at how to pack a lunchbox that will please your growing child, and give them the nutrients they deserve.
Remember to hit all the food groups and include some fun, hand-held items for your growing tot. Whole grain sandwiches consisting of a lean meat and veggies can be an easy, healthy lunchtime staple. Skipping gluten? Turn the sandwich into a lettuce wrap. Instead of fatty spreads like mayo, try hummus and avocado spreads for a tasty ,but more nutritious option.
Kids love eating independently. Assorted berries are fun and colorful fruits that can please your little one. Bananas and sliced apples are also incredibly kid-friendly. Pair them with peanut or almond butter for some extra protein and flavor.
Is your teen into chips and snacks? Try hummus with pita chips/whole wheat pita bread or a string cheese paired with a fruit. Hard boiled eggs are a great, healthy tummy filler for that after school snack.
Skip the sugary concentrated juices or colas and opt in for water. Too boring? Add some lemon, mint or cucumber to infuse the water with a little bit of flavor. Coconut water is another yummy option, for parents and children alike.
The Power of Sleep
While nutrition plays a large role in our energy levels, its important to give your body adequate rest. Studies have shown that teens need an average of 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep/night. Thats a lot of sleep, and extremely difficult to achieve, considering the early start time of most high schools.
There are many lifestyle changes that should be implemented to achieve restorative sleep. To begin with, while getting ready for bed, put that phone away! Any screen (laptop, cell phone, television, Ipad) stimulates the mind and can keep one from relaxing and getting to bed. In our social media driven society, teens are notorious for being glued to their phones. In addition to establishing a routine, sleeping in a dark, cool, environment and waking up to bright light is most ideal.
We hope that these tips and tricks will aid for a smooth transition to a happy, productive school year. To learn more regarding healthy sleep and sleep disorders, join us at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine on August, 20th, 2015, 6 pm, where Dr. Romie will educate us all. Dr. Romie is a celebrated public speaker, mindfullness expert and board certified Neurologist with an incredible array of both professional and personal accomplishments. We look forward to her lecture and opening our doors to health, happiness and healing!