It’s almost that time of year again. The time where crisp wide-ruled notebooks, freshly sharpened number two pencils, and shiny new backpacks make their annual debut. The time where students of all shapes and sizes gear up for a fresh start. Let’s make this fresh start a healthy one too!
- Eat a BALANCED breakfast: Yes, you’ve heard it, breakfast is in fact the most important meal of the day. However – this is not just grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine at school. Research shows eating a source of complete protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat with breakfast helps prevent head aches, fatigue, and afternoon binge eating as well as improves mood, attentiveness and academic performance!
The following are some examples of a balanced breakfast:
- One scrambled egg + whole wheat toast + 2 Tbs peanut butter
- ½ cup oatmeal + 1 (5.3 oz) serving of Greek yogurt + handful of almonds or walnuts
- Protein Powered Breakfast Smoothie:
1 cup almond milk + plain (5.3 oz) serving of Greek yogurt + 2 Tbs peanut butter + 1 serving fruit (1 banana, ½ cup strawberries, ½ cup blueberries) + Optional: Add a veggie of your choice!
- Hydration is KEY: Research in young adults shows even mild dehydration can result in significant impairment in cognitive function! Children have a higher risk of dehydration because of their higher surface area to body mass ratio as well as their inability to recognize thirst cues as adults would. At school, they also do not have free power to do what they want – and water may not be readily available in the quantities they need.
Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements
|Age (years)||Gender||Total Water (Cups/Day)|
|4 to 8||Girls and Boys||5|
|9 to 13||Girls||7|
|14 to 18||Girls||8|
Data are from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrient
Tips to staying hydrated:
- Drink 1 – 2 glasses of water BEFORE school.
- Take a water bottle to school!
- Flavor your water with fresh fruit, spices or herbs.
- Replace juices, sports drinks and soda with water.
Snack on Brainpower Superfoods!
Eat your broccoli! There are some foods that are shown to improve your brain function and broccoli is actually one of them – broccoli is filled with vitamin K – which has been shown to help with cognitive function and improve brain power!
Savor that salmon! The essential fatty acids found in fish (EPA and DHA) are important for many reasons, but research shows adequate intakes of EPA and DHA help control stress by boosting levels of a calming neurotransmitter, serotonin. Adequate intakes of EPA and DHA have also shown a decrease the risk of memory loss!
Bring on the Blueberries: Some studies show that the phytochemicals in blueberries help to delay short term memory loss. A cup of blueberries a day may just keep those bad grade away!
Want to learn more about nutrition or bring nutrition education to your school, team or organization? Contact Registered Dietitian / Licensed Nutritionist, Julie Rothenberg – owner of JuliENERGYnutrition LLC, for more information at [email protected] or find her at www.julienergynutrition.com.