Back to School
BACK TO SCHOOL FITNESS
Each year the relaxed days of summer give way to a return to school and busy schedules. The transition back to school can be stressful for children and parents alike. With a little advance preparation, however, the shift in your daily routines can be made easy and even enjoyable. As always, Harris Teeter is here to help!
Fitting in Exercise
Everyone knows that exercise is important both for immediate and long-term health benefits. Hopefully your children have spent the summer running, swimming and playing. Once school begins, however, there seems much less time available for them to be physically active. It’s estimated that during the school year only ¼ of our children are getting 30 minutes of any type of daily exercise! Here are some things you can do to help your children stay healthy and fit:
Your child doesn’t have to be athletic to be physically fit. Sports are great in so many ways, but many children are not interested in, or comfortable playing sports. Keeping your children physically fit doesn’t mean they have to play sports, it simply means they have to keep moving!
- Set aside free time every day – your children just need to have time to get up and move! Break out the Frisbee, play tag, go for a bike ride – you simply need to keep some time free in their busy days. Schedule time into the day when they drop what they’re doing and get active. Examples might be first thing in the morning, or going outdoors shortly after coming home from school, or maybe having a family walk together after dinner.
- Set a time to do homework - your children will need to get used to doing homework again, but if they get it done early they’ll have more time to play and be active. Speak to your children about planning ahead regarding when to do their homework. Schedule a fun family activity daily and be sure your children know they need to have their work completed in order to participate.
- Limit screen time – you may have let your children watch more television or play video games a little more during the long days of summer, but now it’s time to establish limits. Begin cutting back on screen time one week before school starts. Sample guidelines are 30 minutes of screen time on school days, 60-120 minutes on Saturday and Sunday.
- Have your children join a club – there are many youth groups that promote an active lifestyle both indoors and out. Speak with your children about what they might like to participate in during the school year. Your local YMCA may offer a fitness program, or your children may be interested in becoming a girl or boy scout, or they might want to play a sport – the options are endless!
- Be a good role model – if your children see you exercising regularly they will be more likely to be active themselves. Schedule exercise into your own busy day – and commit to it!
HEALTHY A.M. & P.M. ROUTINES
Starting the Day
Getting your children ready to learn means placing an emphasis on nourishment, morning hygiene, and even skin safety.
Getting Adequate Sleep
- Eat a healthy breakfast – breakfast sets the stage for your children to meet their true potential by giving them the nourishment and energy they need to succeed. See the section on “Healthy Breakfast” in this brochure.
- Brush their teeth – make sure your children brush their teeth properly every morning, and for an adequate amount of time. Some experts recommend that children hum a brief song to themselves while they are brushing, with the idea that they don’t stop brushing until the song is over (even “Happy Birthday to me!” can work). The same musical tool can be used when children wash their hands.
- Apply sun screen or sun block – your child is likely spending time outdoors during the school day. Protect their skin by applying a layer of broad spectrum sun screen or sun block to all exposed skin. Choose a product that protects against the sun’s invisible UVA and UVB rays, and that has an SPF rating of at least 15.
Your children have likely gotten spoiled over the summer by getting the chance to stay up late, but the days of early morning awakenings are coming. Some ideas to help ensure your children get enough sleep each night include:
- Establish a set bed time - children need anywhere from 9-11 hours of sleep nightly in order to be at their best. Once you set a time for them to be in bed be sure to gently enforce the rules. Once you let your children stay up longer than usual they may come to expect a later bedtime.
- Start turning electronics and lights down about an hour before bedtime. Exciting video games, or TV shows, or loud music, do not set the stage for falling asleep easily. On the other hand, soft music can prepare your little ones for sleep, and playing music at a set time establishes a nightly ritual that can be enjoyable, even comforting, for the entire family.
- Don’t wait – one week before school starts, have the children start going to bed early as if they were attending school in the morning. Letting your children stay up late until the day before school makes it unlikely they’ll be rested for the first few days of class.
- Be a good role model – if you’re staying up late, drinking multiple cups of coffee in the morning to get going, and complaining of being tired all the time, what kind of message does that send to your children? Go to bed at a set time each night to ensure you will get at least 7 hours of sleep.
THE BENEFITS OF EATING A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
Breakfast is often referred to as “the most important meal of the day,” especially for children!
What’s so special about Breakfast?
During the night your metabolism slows down to compensate for decreased activity levels. Eating breakfast sends a message to your body that the nightly “fast” is over, and boosts energy levels to get your day started.
Research has repeatedly shown that breakfast eaters do better in school, have greater concentration and problem solving abilities, experience better memory and mood, finish tasks more quickly, and are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. This may all be due to the fact that breakfast provides energy, helps balance blood sugar, and keeps appetite in check until lunch. The key to reaping all the benefits of breakfast is to make sure what you and your children eat is healthy.
Components of a Healthy Breakfast
There are three components of a healthy breakfast: complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and fat. A balance of these three nutrients will provide much needed energy AND help you feel satisfied throughout the morning.
Many people make the mistake of feeding their children a breakfast consisting of only simple carbohydrates (sweetened cereal, toast with jam, fruit juice and a bagel). This leads to a rapid increase in blood sugar followed by a rapid drop, leaving them feeling tired and hungry all over again.
Check out our list of healthy breakfast options and choose some to share with your children. Find a few they enjoy and make sure to have them handy to select from each morning. You can then send your loved ones out the door feeling good and ready to enjoy the day!
Healthy Breakfast Choices for Children
- One egg with whole wheat toast, turkey or soy bacon, and 1 small orange.
- One whole wheat English muffin with 1 tbsp almond butter, sliced banana and 1 cup soy milk.
- One cup steel cut oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts.
- One cup low-fat yogurt with berries, sesame seeds, and a banana.
- Unsweetened, high fiber cereal with skim or soy milk, berries and walnuts.
- One cup of low fat cottage cheese, fruit, ground flax seeds and 1 slice whole wheat toast.
- A small, low-fat bran muffin, 1 apple, 1 boiled egg.
- A 6 oz fruit smoothie made with ground flaxseed, berries and soymilk.
- A whole wheat toaster waffle, add blueberries, go light on the syrup and serve with a glass of skim or soy milk.
QUICK AND HEALTHY LUNCHES FOR CHILDREN
When packing your child’s lunch, use the same guidelines you did for serving a healthy breakfast. Make sure they have a complex carbohydrate (whole wheat breads or pastas, brown rice, beans), a lean protein (turkey, chicken, soy products, lean meats or fish), a bit of healthy fat (almond butter, nuts or low fat cheese), and always a fruit and/or vegetable.
Also remember, a little planning goes a long way. Grocery shop on Sunday and have everything you need on hand to quickly pack a healthy lunch. You can also prepare foods ahead of time, perhaps the night before, to make the morning less stressful – wash and chop vegetables and fruits, boil some eggs, cook pasta, steam rice or make homemade soup. Finally, don’t get stuck in the sandwich trap. With all the inexpensive and reusable containers available today, don’t be afraid to pack your child a healthy pasta dish, rice and beans, soup or a delicious salad.
Here are some ideas to get you started on a year of new and healthy lunches for your children!
Pair any entrée with at least one fruit or vegetable and perhaps a low fat dairy option; some ideas include:
- Whole wheat bread with almond butter and sliced banana
- Whole wheat pita with grilled chicken strips and shredded lettuce (prepare the night before), top with guacamole
- Whole wheat wrap with grilled vegetables (leftover from last night’s cookout), top with their favorite low fat cheese
- Tuna salad – made with light mayonnaise, chopped carrots, celery & walnuts
- Chicken salad – made with light mayonnaise, chopped almonds and red grapes
- Whole wheat pasta with sautéed vegetables and marinara sauce
- Red or black beans (cooked with taco seasoning or salsa) with brown rice and steamed broccoli
- Turkey, low fat cheese and avocado on a whole wheat roll with honey mustard
- Broiled chicken breast with low fat cheddar cheese, serve on whole wheat bread and drizzle with BBQ sauce
- Homemade soup (split pea, vegetable, lentil, chicken and rice, are good options to choose from)
A note about drinks
- One whole medium sized banana, peach, plum, apple, orange or pear
- ½ cup of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries
- ½ cup of chopped pineapple, mango, honeydew, cantaloupe or watermelon
- Carrot or celery sticks
- Sliced peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Chopped broccoli or cauliflower
- A small spinach salad with olive oil and vinegar
- 6 ounces of low fat yogurt, or a ½ cup of low fat cottage cheese
- 1 slice of part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 8 ounces of skim milk or soymilk
It’s important to think about what your child drinks with his or her lunch. Sweetened beverages are the primary source of empty calories in most children’s diets. These drinks typically offer little or nothing nutritionally and provide a lot of excess sugar, calories, and even sodium. Always choose beverages that are free of additives and are low in calories. Some examples of good beverage choices are: 100% fruit juice (one 8 oz serving is enough), skim or soy milk, water or seltzer water (you can spice seltzer up by adding a little 100% fruit juice).
30 Minute Memory Health Recipes
Now it is time for dinner! To help you complete your new routine we have given you five dinner recipes. This month’s yourwellness recipes are delicious, quick to make, and include ingredients that are good for your mind! That’s right, in less than 30 minutes time you can prepare a meal that tastes great and may help improve the memory health of your family.
Farmers Market Fruit Salad
Fresh Food Market Hummus Dip
|6 Farmers Market peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 lb Farmers Market strawberries, hulled, and sliced
½ lb Farmers Market seedless green grapes
½ lb Farmers Market seedless red grapes
3 Farmers Market bananas, peeled and sliced
1 Farmers Market lime, juiced
½ cup Harris Teeter pineapple juice
1 tsp ground ginger
Combine chopped and sliced fruits in a large serving bowl; toss gently. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour dressing mixture over fruit and toss gently to combine.
Farmers Market Vegetable Curry
|2 cans of HT Naturals garbanzo beans, drained
8 ounces tofu
¼ cup Harris Teeter lemon juice
¼ cup tahini paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a food processor bowl, combine the beans, tofu, lemon juice and tahini and process till smooth. Cut the pita bread into 8-10 pie wedge shapes and bake in a 350° F oven for 10 minutes.
Farmers Market Strawberry Kiwi Gelatin
|3 Farmers Market potatoes, large diced
1 Farmers Market cauliflower, large diced
5 oz Farmers Market English peas
3 large Farmers Market tomatoes, diced
¾ tsp turmeric
½ tsp Harris Teeter chili powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp curry
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a large pot, cover, set over low heat for 2 hours.
Farmers Market Sweet Potato Casserole
|1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1 cup hot water
1 ½ cups Farmers Market kiwi, peeled and pureed
1 ½ cups Farmers Market strawberries, pureed
1 cup 2% Harris Teeter evaporated milk
2 tbsp flaxseed, ground
8 ice cubes
Add gelatin to hot water and mix until dissolved and smooth. In a large bowl, mix purees, evaporated milk, flaxseed and ice cubes. Pour gelatin mixture into strawberry kiwi puree and stir until ice cubes are melted. Pour mixture into jelly mold and chill until set, at least 3 hours. To serve, warm jelly mold briefly in hot water then turn pudding out onto platter.
|3 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
½ cup Harris Teeter egg starts
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup Harris Teeter skim milk
½ cup Harris Teeter all purpose flour
1 cup Farmers Market walnuts chopped
¼ cup sugar (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Mix egg starts, vanilla and skim milk to potatoes. Pour into a casserole dish. In a mixing bowl combine flour, walnuts, (and sugar if you choose). Spread on top of the casserole and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes. Watch so the walnuts do not burn, cover if necessary.