Food for thought – back to school nutrition

Time has come again for studying, textbooks, recess and packed lunches. When it comes to learning and forming new memories, proper nourishment with the right healthy foods is essential. Below are some important tips regarding your child’s nutrition for the new school year:

– Breakfast is the most important meal of the day: Ensure that your child eats within 1 hour of waking in order to jump start their metabolism and help them maintain a higher level of energy throughout the day
– Encourage snacking: In your packed lunch, include multiple high protein, high fibre, or high poly-unsaturated fatty acid (omega 3 and omega 6) snacks. These foods encourage neurological development, helping with concentration, memory forming and cognitive function. Good snack examples are nuts (almonds or walnuts), seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, chia, sunflower), soy, avocado, coconut, cottage cheese, yoghurt, and most fruits.
– Pack a “rainbow” array of food: Nutritious foods are naturally vibrant in colour. Include foods from all colours of the rainbow in your child’s lunch to ensure they are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals. If you have packed something that is white/brown (such as a grain or dairy product), add colourful fruits/vegetables to increase the nutritional value.
– Pack a container of water. Dehydration can lead to headaches, decreased concentration, muscle pains, low energy and low mood. Children should have at least 1-2L of water while at school. If they don’t enjoy water, add lemon or other fruits to improve the taste.
– Limit simple sugars and processed foods. These foods may be convenient, but they are detrimental to your child’s health as they can cause low energy, digestive issues, headaches, mood swings, and decreased concentration.

When it comes to packing a lunch and snacks, let your child be involved. If they pick from healthy choices which snack they want, or if they are involved with the lunch/snack making process, they are more likely to eat and enjoy their lunch. By providing a complete breakfast and colourful nutritious packed lunch, you are equipping your children with the tools they need to have a productive jump start for the school year.

To learn more about nutrition and preventative health care for you and your children, contact your local Naturopathic Doctor for more information.

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About healthyhappynaturopathy

I am a board certified and licensed Naturopathic Doctor working in Newmarket and Maple, Ontario I am an advocate of individualized and specialized medicine, about treating individuals as a whole, and evoking our own healing properties. To me, being happy is being healthy, and health flourishes with a positive mindset.
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