Start your summer with the kids different. Work on nutrition now, so when the school year rolls around, your teen will be ready mentally and physically for a new school year. Whether preparing for summer school or filling out online job applications, teens need proper nutrition to avoid burnout.
Don’t let them skip meals. Have them skip the junk, and fuel with brain foods from the Harvard School of Public Health’s nutrition pyramid listed most important to least:
- Daily exercise and weight control
- Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and oils and whole grains
- Nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, fish, poultry and eggs
- Dairy or Vitamin D supplements
- Use sparingly: Red meat, processed meat, butter, refined grains, white rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, sugary drinks, sweets and salt
They’ll remember more, be less nervous and be able to concentrate.
Include whole grains with breakfast. Whole grain bread and cereals such as steel-cut oats provide glucose to fuel the brain. Whole grains improve memory and concentration, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, calm them down and alleviate anxiety.
Bodies and brains require fats to function, but take note: only partake of “healthy” fats found in foods like avocados, nuts and seeds. These provide antioxidants and assist with memory and brain power. They give a boost for that late afternoon test when energy is lagging. Snacks like trail mix are chock-full of sunflower, seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts like pecans, almonds and peanuts, according to mayoclinic.com, to boost energy. Omega-3 fatty acids from mackerel, sardines, trout and salmon will maintain your brain’s capacity and improve your concentration.
Fruits and Veggies
To improve clarity, memory and recall, feed your family lots of fruits and vegetables. Web MD says the darker, the better when it comes to this vital food group. Blueberries, for example, are a wonder-food, carrying high levels of antioxidants for improving cognition and maintaining memory. Look to the dark side when it comes to veggies, too, dishing up healthy portions of leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach and kale.
Protein provides energy and will keep them awake and alert during a grueling day of test taking. Eggs done up any way you like are a great way to start a day, and you can get protein from legumes and meat like lean beef, turkey or chicken.
Milk and dairy-based products such as yogurt provide protein. Cheese is a tasty snack that adds zinc to the diet; zinc is vital to eyesight as well as for maintaining healthy insulin and blood sugar levels.
Keep them hydrated. After a late night of studying, they might be tempted to slurp down several coffees or energy drinks, but too much caffeine will work against the body, and its effects are short-lived. Caffeine intensifies anxiety. Water is always the better choice for hydration.
About the Author: Victoria Hewitt, An eye for decorating has never stopped Victoria from pursuing more meaningful endeavors. She spends at least 25 percent of her interior design profits investing in green technologies. As a mom, she knows how important it is to ensure a healthy future for tomorrow’s children.
*Previously shared on Momma Young at Home on June 2013