Can you believe it? It is already August; many of us are out shopping for school supplies, figuring out school schedules and how we will manage the changes!
Change can be very stressful for adults and even more stressful for young children and teens as they are still developing and trying to work through how to manage all the demands of school, different personalities, a new teacher, etc. Amazingly, food can have a huge impact on all of this! Food is a huge component in how we feel, learn, adapt, and manage our emotions. While we cannot schedule, control and figure out everything, there are a few simple steps and foods that we can take in order to support our kids and ourselves with overall health, increased focus/learning and a reduction in stress.
There is a STRONG link between FOOD and MOOD even if we don’t realize it!
Healthy Fats provide key nutrients for brain development in our babies, children and teenagers; additionally they provide anti-inflammatory properties, focus, energy, along with the ability to absorb other vitamins and nutrients; making us feel fuller and stabilizing our blood sugar levels (which creates our cravings, reduction in focus, and can lead to internal damage overtime).
Healthy Proteins provide the building blocks of muscle and tissue growth, protein is found in every cell of our body, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, a key component of brain communication, and much more.
Fruits and Vegetables are full of micronutrients that prevent disease, reduce inflammation (our brain is very susceptible to inflammation), cleanse our cells and our liver, create healthy skin, feel fuller longer (supporting stable blood sugar levels), support learning/focus, improve our digestion, and maintain a healthy immune system.
Incorporating healthier options into our lives that fit into these above categories will support our and our children’s cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing. This does not need to be challenging; it just takes a little bit of preparation and planning on a weekly basis. Get your kids involved not only to reduce the responsibility on you but also as an opportunity to connect with them more and teach them healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Many times when children are a part of the food planning and preparation process they are more likely to eat it. There really are no hidden secrets or weird concoctions…just an intention to go back to some of the basics!
So what are those simple steps and foods to bring on so many benefits? Here are my suggestions:
- Reserve 30 minutes at the end of the week to assess groceries in your home. Create a meal plan full of whole foods for the upcoming week and identify what whole foods you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
- Saturday or Sunday afternoon reserve an hour to prep up snacks, meals, cut up veggies, place fruit and vegetables in baggies for ‘grab and go,” etc.
- Consume Healthy Fats and Proteins for Breakfast daily – reduce or eliminate breakfast cereals as they can cause a spike in blood sugar and increase carb/sugar cravings…RESERVE those for weekends if you feel you and/or your kids must have them! Some simple ‘on the go’ options include:
Omelet Muffins (easy to makeup and freeze)
Organic Plain Greek Yogurt with berries
- Pack Lunches full of Healthy Fats, Proteins, Fruits and Vegetables daily
Tortilla Rollups with almond butter and banana or nitrate free meat with spinach
Hummus with carrots, raw peppers, cucumbers, jicama, and/or snap peas
Nitrate Free Turkey or Beef Sticks
Homemade soup or stew
Avocado & Chickpea spread on a tortilla or healthy bread
Homemade Protein bites
Organic Greek Yogurt
Organic Yogurt in Tubes
Apples with almond or peanut butter
Handful of raw almonds with raisins or cranberries
- Prep After School Snacks – designate a drawer or shelf in the refrigerator or cupboard with healthy snacks to choose from. Ideas include:
Celery with Almond or Peanut Butter
Small bottles of water
Nitrate free Turkey or Beef Sticks
Organic cheese sticks
Hummus (small single serve packs are great)
Guacamole (small single serve packs are great)
Homemade Protein Bites
- Quick, easy and healthy dinners
Prep up meals and place ingredients in freezer bags to be pulled out and cooked any night.
Wildtree Freezer Meals are a great and healthy options to make and have on hand
Make friends with your Crockpot
Consider purchasing and using an Instant Pot
Keep it Simple! Recipe Ideas:
Black Bean Burgers – make them up and place in container in refrigerator until ready to make into patties.
Stuffed Peppers – make up the mixture, place in peppers and then in freezer bag to freeze until ready to heat and eat.
- Simple ways to load up on Fruits and Vegetables
At Every Meal
Place in soups/stews
Add veggies to eggs and/or quiche
About the Author
Melanie is the Wellness Coordinator for Willowsong Midwifery & Well Woman Care, a Certified Health Coach (through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and AADP), and most importantly a mom of 3 small children. She is very passionate about empowering moms and children in attaining their overall health and wellness! Melanie approaches health from a holistic perspective, meaning that she believes each component of our lives creates our overall health and wellness. Please connect with Melanie and her website www.Food4Thoughtdm.com for upcoming classes, individualized coaching, prenatal health coaching, online detoxes, Juice Plus+ Whole Food Nutrition and much more!
Please don’t just take Melanie’s experience…as always consult with your medical professional and your own self-understanding when making health decision; Melanie is not a medical professional, a nutritionist or dietician. She does not hold a degree in medicine, dietetics, or nutrition. Melanie makes no claim to any specialized medical training, nor does she dispense medical advice or prescriptions. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, preconception or pregnancy health. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes ONLY. Please consult with your doctor or wellness team if you have questions and then make your own well-informed decisions based upon what is best for your unique genetics, culture, conditions, and stage of life