During the summer it is a great time for cookouts, ice cream, summer festival foods, and all of the good stuff that makes life fun. As the fall approaches, most clients who seek nutrition tips and advice are trying to figure out how to get back on track in their eating habits. Once the summer passes, we have to “switch gears” and start getting ready for the next school year. Of course, nothing helps with focus and energy for the school year like good nutrition.
Here are a few Nutrition Tips to help ensure you get a Healthy start to this next school year:
1.) Form Habits Before Returning to School. I know it is easy to sleep in late and stay up late during the summer but the more your body is on the same routine each day, the better it will be for metabolism, blood sugars to help regulate. Try to stay close to the same schedule, during the summer, that you are on during the school year.
- Example: Wake up by 7am, breakfast by 8am, lunch by 12-1pm, dinner by 6-7pm, and bed by 10-11pm.
2.) Ensure proper fluid intake. Most people know that drinking ½ of their body weight in ounces works for most adults, but it is not the case for children. Remember to take 16-32 oz fluid with you to school, each day, to help ensure you are consuming enough fluids while at school.
- Benefits of proper hydration – weight loss, energy, headache cure, healthy skin, aids with digestive problems, cleansing and kidney health, and will be able to exercise better.
- Examples –
- 100 lb person would need 68 oz/day (which is ~4 bottles/day at 16.9 oz each)
- 125 lb person would need 75 oz/day (which is ~4.5 bottles/day at 16.9 oz each)
- 150 lb person would need 83 oz/day (which is ~5 bottles/day at 16.9 oz each)
- 175 lb person would need 91 oz/day (which is ~5.5 bottles/day at 16.9 oz each)
- 200 lb person would need 99 oz/day (which is ~6 bottles/day at 16.9 oz each)
3.) Eat a Healthy Breakfast each morning. Whether it is at home or at school, ensure you are consuming a well-balanced meal. This will help you be able to focus, be in a better mood, and have energy throughout the day. If you skip breakfast, you body starts to not trust you and could slow down your metabolism and make it easy to gain weight.
- Example – 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain) mixed with 1 cup of mixed strawberries and blueberries. Add an egg white omelet with onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach.
- If you are not very hungry in the mornings, try a homemade smoothie with 1 cup fruit, 1 cup milk/yogurt, 1 cup veggies all blended together. Add chia/flax seeds on top for extra fiber and protein.
4.) Increase consumption of Fiber. Fiber helps to ensure that we absorb food more efficiently, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, produce vitamins and ensure our “plumbing” is functioning optimally. Kids may not realize that eliminating less than 1-2 times per day equates to constipation.
- Good Sources of fiber: prunes, raspberries, pear, cherries, brussel sprouts, yam, winter squash, broccoli, carrots, potato (with the skin), Beans (Navy, Split, Lentils, Pinto, Black, Kidney, Lima, Chickpeas, and Baked), Chia and Flax Seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Whole wheat flour, Whole Wheat pasta, Quinoa, Cooked Oatmeal, and Popcorn.
- The amount of fiber each person needs varies, based on age and weight but most kids will need at least 15g fiber per day. Most adults will need 25-30g fiber per day.
5.) Ensure adequate sleep. Most people will need adequate sleep to help mood, attention, and behavior. If a person is not getting adequate sleep it can also slow down their metabolism and make it easier to gain weight. Make bedtime a routine – try to go to bed each night at the same time, turn off all electronics 30 minutes prior to bedtime, turn off all lights and if you need noise, listen to music.
- Children need 9-11 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age.
- Adults need 7-9 hour of sleep each night.