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Plenty of sleep + good nutrition = energetic and alert student

today's lesson snipBy Ashley Foster, Guest Blogger

As parents prepare for the upcoming school year, it’s important to ensure their school-age children have enough energy to carry them through the school day and after-school activities. One of the simplest ways to achieve that is through healthy sleep and eating habits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elementary-aged students should aim for at least 10 hours of sleep per night, while teens need nine to 10 hours a day.

Students who show up to school well rested and well fed will be ready to attack the day, and studies have shown that students who eat a high quality balanced diet perform better on tests and have better cognition and concentration in class.

Each meal should have a good balance of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats to keep your children going.  Here are some balanced breakfast ideas that are fairly quick to throw together:

5 Breakfast ideas:

Oatmeal: Whole rolled or steel cut oats with sliced blueberries or apple, ½ cup milk and 1 TBSP Peanut Butter. Or if you’re strapped for time in the morning, try overnight oats.

Eggs: scrambled, hard boiled or make these mini frittatas in a muffin tin ahead of time so kids can grab and go.

Yogurt bowl: Greek yogurt mixed with chopped fruit, granola and/or nuts

Mexican breakfast wrap: whole wheat wrap with scrambled eggs, avocado, tomato, cheese and black beans

Smoothie:

  • 2/3 cup (almond* rice* or dairy) milk or juice,
  • 1 handful of spinach (you won’t taste it! Promise J),
  • frozen fruit of your choice (berries have lots of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber),
  • 1/2 to 1 banana
  • 1 TBSP peanut butter or almond butter OR ½ avocado
  • *add 2/3 cup yogurt or cottage cheese if you don’t use dairy milk to substitute protein

 

5 brain-boosting foods and why you should try them:

  • Salmon: essential Omega 3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain
  • Blueberries: linked to better short term memory
  • Spinach: carotenoids and flavonoids reduce free radicals in the body and protecting brain tissue 1
  • Eggs: egg yolks contain B-complex vitamin choline, which is associated with better neurological function
  • Oatmeal: helps regulate spikes in blood glucose, which is the brain’s main source of fuel.

Sources and for more information visit:

http://www.extension.org/pages/68774/3-ways-nutrition-influences-student-learning-potential-and-school-performance#.VR7GNvmAG9E

http://www.californiahealthykids.org/articles/NPA_3.pdf

http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/what-we-do/breakfast-for-healthy-kids

http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.htm

Ashley Foster is Step Up For Students’ former Marketing Manager, who recently moved with her husband, Gary, to North Carolina for his job. They live in Raleigh with their new puppy Lady Mae. Ashley currently teaches yoga at a local studio and is searching for the next step in her marketing career. 

 

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