Start the School Year FRESH!

Happy New Year! Well, happy new {school} year that is.  With a new year, it’s a good time to start fresh.  By starting “fresh” I mean fresh food and a fresh outlook on being healthy.  As parents, coaches, and volunteers, we are models to kids in almost every aspect of life – one being health.  Something so valuable that we can give kids is the knowledge and mannerisms in which to live fresh, happy and healthy.

Disclaimer – I am not a certified nutritionist!

Raise your hand if you want 0 sick days this year! Avoiding illness and being healthy starts in the kitchen, so let’s talk breakfast first.  Countless studies show that “children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school and have better concentration and more energy.”*

So what does a “nutritious breakfast” even mean? Look for foods high in protein and low in sugar.  Don’t stress too much over calories.  Instead, look at what is IN the food.  Food = Fuel, and if you can’t read the words on the ingredients label, then that food is most likely not the best thing to fuel you. Going from Math to PE to Reading can be tough!  Our students will be more successful if properly fueled and energized.  And, they will be even more successful if adults around them are modeling healthy eating.  Here are some quick and easy breakfast ideas:

healthy breakfast
Photo from: http://theberry.com/2012/08/12/daily-motivation-16-photos-90/

Quick Tip: start the day by drinking a big glass of water right after you wake up.  This helps both hydration and metabolism!

On to lunch… most schools and school districts post the cafeteria schedules online and/or sends the calendar home.  This is a great opportunity for parents to be able to plan accordingly and to see what your kids are eating.  For example, if it’s pizza day at school then maybe plan on making a more nutrient-rich dinner with vegetables and protein.  If you pack lunch, here are some great tips:

How-To-Pack-A-School-Lunch1
Photo from: http://www.whilehewasnapping.com/2014/08/printable-how-to-pack-a-school-lunch/

Dinner can be a difficult one.  You’re tired and hungry and you just want to whip up a PB&J and call is day.  Two suggestions for dinner are 1) take the time to “unplug” and tune in to your family while savoring your meal, and 2) pack in whole grains, veggies & protein while avoiding high fat. If you, or your child, have a hard time falling asleep, consider that foods high in fat (like fried food) take longer to digest which can keep your body awake. **

My personal favorite cheap, easy, and healthy dinners include:

  • Breakfast for dinner: you can make this as healthy as you want with an egg & veggie omelet and whole grain toast or go a little more fun with eggs, lean sausage, and pancakes (light on the syrup though!)
  • Beans and rice: add in avocado and fresh veggies like chopped zucchini, tomatoes, peppers & corn and you’ll have something tastier (and cheaper) than Chipotle
  • Chicken w/roasted sweet potatoes & broccoli: chop the sweet potatoes into cubes and toss them in a bowl with the broccoli and olive oil. Then, pour the contents onto a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about 20 min. Bake the chicken to your liking. This meal is high in nutrition, low in cost!
  • Chili: this is a great meal to make a big bowl on Sunday and have for the week. Make sure to add in some veggies like zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers!
  • Easy-Homemade-Burrito-Bowls-iowagirleats-01_mini
    Photo from: http://iowagirleats.com/2014/08/29/easy-homemade-burrito-bowls/

So, are you on board the health train yet? Toot Toot! Check out more info about The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits here.

Another really cool opportunity to get your family movin’ and groovin’ this fall is to sign up for 5210 Challenge! The next challenge begins on Sept 9.  Click Here to learn more about the challenge!

Resource Websites:

*American Academy of Pediatrics Back-to-School-Tips

**Greatist: Best and Worst Foods for Sleep

CMS Lunch Calendar

Fort Mill Schools Lunch Calendar

Comment below with recipe ideas and tips!

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