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Help Your Kids Succeed in School by Eating Better

By Karen C.L. Anderson

One of the most important ways you can help your children succeed in school and in life is by giving them the basic nutrition their bodies need to learn and grow. Teaching healthy eating habits lasts a lifetime, and even small changes can make a big difference in your children’s health, and happiness. The food industry knows that the key to getting your child to want to eat something is to make it fun, cool, and tasty. And they know the key to getting moms to buy it, even pay more for it, is to make it easy and healthy. Unfortunately, what is labeled as “healthy” all too often is actually not only not nutritious, but addictive and harmful. Foods loaded with artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, sugar, and preservatives might be easy, and very tempting, but these items have very little nutritional value and those chemicals are damaging. Young brains and bodies starved of nutrients and poisoned with artificial ingredients learn and grow more slowly. Here are lots of ideas to help your whole family get the nutrition necessary for success.

Everyone has heard a million times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That is because starting the day with a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber optimizes the body’s ability to stabilize blood sugar, providing the brain with a steady supply of nutrients throughout the day. Some ideas for breakfast: almond butter on toast or rice cake, veggie omelet (or scramble), fruit smoothie. If boxed cereal is a tradition in your family, choose a high fiber, low sugar variety: at least 6g of fiber serving, with less than 12g of sugar per serving.

Tips for families on the go:
All too often people say they do not have time for breakfast. And it is understandable that weekday mornings can feel early and rushed, but you do not have to cook a full meal from scratch everyday. When cooking a luxurious weekend breakfast, make extra! Most egg scrambles, whole grain pancakes and muffins, and hot cereals keep very well in the fridge or the freezer. All you need to do is grab single serving, heat it in the microwave if desired, or just grab it and go. Having healthy options easily available, especially when feeling rushed, dramatically increases the whole family’s ability to make healthy choices throughout the whole day.

Make sandwiches on 100% whole grain bread, or sprouted grain bread. This change alone increases fiber 200% and protein 100% over white bread. Leave out the chips and add carrots or an apple for some crunch.

Nuts are a tasty, easy source of protein and essential fatty acids that feed brains and prevent binge eating. Raw nuts are best, but trail mix or celery sticks with almond butter are other options which add more disease-fighting antioxidants. Fresh fruit is another tasty way to get both fiber and antioxidants.

Tips for the “mac and cheese kids”:
Does your child refuse to eat anything other than breads, pasta, and dairy? Some kids are naturally pickier than others, but you can make a difference. Modeling healthy eating behavior is the single most important thing you can do. When kids see you grabbing the chips or the cookies, or avoiding the vegetables on your plate, they are guaranteed to do the same. Showing them early and consistently how to eat a balanced diet will greatly improve the chances they will enjoy a range of foods and be willing to try new things. Having kids help with making their own lunch and cooking family meals instills a sense of choice and investment that can lead to a lifetime of better food choices. If you make it a chore, they will resist, but if you make it fun, they will be thrilled to play along.

For more healthy recipe options, check out the blog at naturamedicamystic.com.

Karen C. L. Anderson
Member, SECT Women’s NETWORK

As profiled on GRACE magazine website, www.graceforwomen.com

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