It’s back-to-school time! As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children succeed. There’s so much you can do to prime those little brains for optimal learning! Check out my Top 5 Back-To-School Tips to get your kids ready for a great school year:
Back to School Health Tips
Chelsea Blackbird, Certified Nutritional Therapist
1. Eat Protein For Better Focus
Kids have a much better chance of focusing and thinking more clearly when they start the day with protein like eggs, meat, nut butters, unsweetened full-fat yogurt, or protein smoothie. These foods boost brain power and contribute to better behavior in the classroom. I cringe when I see kids starting their day with toast and OJ, cereal and skim milk, or pancakes and corn syrup. These refined foods create blood sugar spikes and dips that can lead to hyperactivity and an inability to focus. They offer NO nutrients to support healthy brain activity or steady behavior. It’s unfair to expect kids to perform well when you fill their tanks with the wrong fuel. Eggs are a great choice to rev up those brains and get the day started right. Check out this great healthy breakfast recipe: Breakfast roll ups.
2. Utilize Better Fats For Brain Health
Here’s the mistake I see many moms make: they are hypervigilant about serving low-fat foods to their kids, but are unknowingly filling their little bodies with trans fats and toxic oils. There’s no question that our bodies need fat to thrive: our brains are 70% fat and every cell membrane is made of fat. Our kids need brain boosting fats from foods like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, avocados, wild-caught fish, and nuts. The worse things to feed them are foods made with refined oils like canola, vegetable, soybean, cottonseed, and margarine. Fast foods are prepared in these toxic oils. And low-fat foods always have questionable ingredients added (usually sugar!) to make up for the flavor lost when fat is removed. Healthy fats contribute to brain composition, cell membrane formation, and steady blood sugar levels. Kids need them. You need them. Don’t be afraid of good fat!
3. Boost Immunity
Back to school means back to germs. To help keep kids healthy, it may be a good idea to add a mulit-vitamin, probiotic, and omega-3 supplement to their daily regimen. The multi-vitamin helps compensate for diets lacking in nutrients; the probiotic increases good bacteria in the body to help fight off germs and infections; the omega-3 decreases inflammation and contributes to brain power. Obviously a well-rounded, nutrient dense diet is the best way to keep kids healthy, but, let’s face it, kids don’t always eat what they’re supposed to!
4. Regulate Sleep Patterns
It’s time to shake off those summer hours and reestablish a regular sleeping pattern. Kids require between 9 and 12 hours every night for optimal health. Sleep is critical to many body functions like metabolism, detoxification, hormonal regulation, and optimal brain health. Poor sleep habits can create all sorts of problems in the classroom. Set a bedtime goal each night and stick to it.
5. Minimize Stress
It can be hard to get back into the swing of a schedule. If you’re unorganized and stressed, your kids will be too. To avoid this, plan ahead as much as you can.
Get the next morning’s breakfast ready as you’re cooking dinner. I love to make egg muffins or casseroles, nut butter waffles, and cut-up fruit ahead of time for something quick in the mornings. This is also a good time to pack lunches for the next day. One big cooking mess, one big clean-up.
Write the week’s events on a dry/erase board posted on your refrigerator (or get your kids to do it – my son loves this job!). That way, everyone knows what’s coming up for the week.
Pack backpacks and pick out clothes the night before. Who needs a battle first thing in the morning?
My last and probably most important tip of all? Send your kids off to school with lots of hugs and kisses and positive words. Your love and support will offer the best energy boost they get all day! Have a wonderful school year everybody!