Our children are heading back to school. We Moms often have some mixed feelings around this. Most of our YinOva Moms tell me they feel a bit wistful that summer is over whilst at the same time breathing a giant sigh of relief as everyone gets back into routine. At this time of year patients usually tell me that they want to get off on the right foot and ask advice about putting some healthy habits in place. So here’s some back to school advice gleaned from our YinOva Moms (both staff and patients) as we wish you all a healthy transition into fall.
Get a healthy startWe’re all familiar with the morning rush but making time for a proper breakfast is an essential start to the day. It’ll help your children arrive at school alert and able to concentrate.
Unfortunately many quick and easy breakfasts are full of sugar and empty calories. As a general rule it’s best for children to start the day with some protein such as eggs, nut butter, milk or yogurt and some high fiber carbohydrates such as grains, wholegrain tortillas, whole wheat bread or healthy cereals. You can round this our with some fruit – bananas go particularly well with nut butter and whole wheat bread for example.
Check out this blog from our archive which has plenty of healthy and kid-friendly breakfast ideas.
Nutritious Packed LunchesWe’ve talked about packed lunches before on the YinOva Blog so for some good ideas and helpful advice check out this blog from our archive.
If you’re having trouble planning your child’s lunches ask them for some input. Sit down with your kids and talk to them about which foods are healthy and which foods won’t help their body as much. Get their agreement about which foods to eat regularly, which to only eat occasionally and which to avoid altogether. Then make a list of things they want to eat. Help them understand balance by getting them to pick proteins they like as well as grains and fruit and vegetables and get their ideas about how to combine these.
As important as what you put in a healthy lunchbox is what you leave out, so give the following a miss:-
- High fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice from concentrate
- Artificial sweeteners
- Partially-hydrogenated oils
- White or bleached flour products
- Leftover grains (eg Brown Rice) with leftover steamed veggies and low sodium tomato sauce
- Hummus or other bean dip with whole grain crackers and veggies to dip into it and a banana for desert.
- Greek yogurt with veggie chips to dip into it and a small bag of trail mix.
- A whole grain, rice, or corn pita, no nitrate lunch meat, lettuce, sliced tomato and hummus.
- Wholewheat pasta salad with tuna and veggies and some veganaise and apple sauce on the side.
- A whole grain, rice, or corn tortilla with mashed avocado, beans and rice.
- Rice crackers with nut butter and a bag of cut veggies and some seedless grapes.
When I was young we did PE every day but these days many schools have had to cut their PE programs and academic pressure means that children get less exercise than they used to. Children’s lives have also become more sedentary with TV and computer games replacing outdoor play. Staying fit is important for mental health and concentration as well as physical health and well being. Make sure your kids get some kind of exercise everyday, either by encouraging them to participate in organized sports or by letting them ride their bikes or run around in the park.
Herbs and SupplementsBeing in a stuffy classroom with lots of other kids means that our children are particularly susceptible to colds and flu. Support their immune systems by adopting some of the healthy habits above and also by making sure that they take some useful supplements. This blog from our archive looks at how some of the supplements and herbs we stock here at the YinOva Center can be used to support your kids.
My own personal Mom trick is to give them a probiotic which will not only support good digestion by promoting beneficial intestinal flora but has been shown to boost the immune system and help them fight infectious diseases.
AcupunctureAcupuncture is a great way to address many childhood ailments and disorders. Check out this blog article by a YinOva Mom who came to our center for acupuncture and Chinese herbs which successfully treated her child’s eczema. We use acupuncture to treat kids for weak immunity, repeated ear infections, digestive problems, asthma and behavioral problems.
Mom’s who are new to acupuncture worry that their kids will be upset by the needles but this is rarely the case. This video shows me treating some of our YinOva kids and should reassure you that fer from being scary, acupuncture can be fun.