27 Aug Healthy Habits for the New School Year
By Lyndi Woods, Educator and Certified Health Coach
As an elementary school teacher, I know that my students must have their basic needs met before they can even begin to focus on learning. Once they walk into my classroom, those needs become my number one priority and my main concern. When a student’s needs are met, it changes EVERYTHING!
One of the major contributors to a healthy mind is a healthy body. Every day, I provide time for my students to eat a healthy snack between breakfast and lunch. On the days that become too busy and snack-time falls to the wayside, behavior issues increase. It’s amazing the benefits that food can have on the mind!
Eating right helps our children to become better learners – we all know what it’s like to deal with a “sugar high” or how groggy we feel after a heavy or greasy meal. Time after time, I’m sure we’ve all heard what a nutritional meal can do for children, their mood, and their ability to focus. Let me share what we as parents can do to help our kids succeed by establishing healthy habits.
Protein and fiber-filled foods make us feel fuller longer. According to Dr. Wayne Anderson in his book, Habits of Health, protein makes us feel fuller than fats and carbohydrates. If you want to help your children last from breakfast to lunch or eliminate those hunger meltdowns when they walk into the house from a long day of school, fill them with the right fuel! Your kids and their teacher will thank you!
Here is a list of snacks that our family uses to get started. We call it The Healthy ABCs. It gives kids a fun way to participate in positive food choices. Have fun with this list and play around with different combinations to inspire healthy habits!
A – Avocados, almonds, apples
B – Bananas, broccoli, blueberries
C – Carrots, cashews, cucumbers, chicken (baked or grilled)
D – Dates, dill pickles, dried fruit
E – Eggs (hard-boiled), elderberry juice, edamame
F – Fig Newtons, fruit salad
G – Grapes, granola, green peppers
H – Hummus, ham cubes, honeydew
I – Iceberg lettuce (substitute for bread for cool and crunchy sandwich wraps), ices/ice pops (find fruit juice bars in the freezer aisle or make your own by freezing 100% juice and dropping in your favorite fruit – take it out before it’s solid if you want it to be slushy!)
J – Jerky, jackfruit
K – Kale chips (dry leaves, season to taste, and bake in the oven), kiwi slices
L – Lentil (roast them for crispy snacks or boil for a soft mix-in for homemade granola bars); lemon-lime smoothies (add sweet berries to balance the sour taste of citrus!)
M – Mozzarella sticks (string cheese, not the breaded and fried kind!), melon, 2-ingredient milkshakes (blend frozen fruit + milk!)
N – Nuts, nectarines
O – Oranges, oatmeal
P – Peaches, plums, pears, peanut butter protein bars
Q – Quinoa, quesadillas (filled with cheese, veggies, and black beans)
R – Raspberries, red peppers, roast beef
S – Salami, strawberries, sweet potato fries
T – Turkey, tuna, tangerines
U – Ugli fruit (a hybrid of grapefruit, orange, and tangerine), unsalted pretzels
V – Veggie fries, vanilla protein shake
W – Whole wheat waffles, watermelon
X – eXtra veggies!
Y – Yogurt, yellow pepper
Z – Zucchini chips, Ezekiel bread