Where did summer go? School bells are ringing once again, and it’s back to routine.However, routine does not have to mean “usual” or “boring”—especially with these back-to-school nutrition and health trends for putting your best foot forward this fall—no matter whether you’re a little kid or a big kid (college).
Breakfast Makeover. Everyone knows it’s the most important meal of the day. And, this day in age, you know Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Pop-tarts just won’t cut it. Sugar highs will only last you so long. Eating real food for breakfast is becoming the norm for kids and families nationwide, as the sugar crisis is more and more exposed (Anyone see the documentary “Fed-Up”?). Instead of reaching for the Apple Jacks or Capn’ Crunch now, try these breakfasts instead:
Eggs & Bacon: Vital Farms Pasture Raised Eggs (scrambled, over-easy, however you like) with some veggies of choice (spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, etc.) + 2 slices Nitrate-free Applegate Farms Bacon or Turkey Bacon + creamy avocado slices on top or raw, grass-fed cheese
Sausage & Greens: Nitrate-free chicken apple sausage patties (Try Wellshire Farms brand from Whole Foods) + Power Greens sautéed in 1 tsp. coconut oil + handful of mixed berries or ½ avocado
Homemade Smoothie: Crushed ice + 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk + 1 serving protein powder (look for local brands: Wild Foods’ Wild Whey or Natural Stacks Collagen-Whey blend) + heaping handful of spinach + 1 tbsp. raw almond butter or coconut butter + frozen berries or ½ banana
Re-thinking Gluten Free. In recent years, gluten-free has been a top trend, as more awareness is raised about the mind-gut connection (like the sugar awareness described above). What we know now? Gut inflammation leads to systemic inflammation throughout the body, including inflammation in the brain. In other words: What we eat has a direct effect on our bodies and our brains…gluten included. However, just because a food label says it is “gluten-free” does not equal health. While gluten-free cereals, bars, breads, crackers, and other products have been hot items on the grocery shelves, in 2015, be part of setting the new trend: Gluten-free products aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Look at a label of a popular gluten-free bread, Udi’s, for instance, and you will find many similarities of this gluten-free version, compared with a regular grain-rich brand (Sugar, chemicals with names you can’t pronounce, etc.). The only thing missing? One ingredient (gluten). Instead of stocking your pantry with “healthy” gluten-free products, opt for real foods. See the New Lunchables below for some inspiration.
The New Lunchable. If you haven’t heard of Bento Boxes yet, consider this your accelerated course. Available at Whole Foods, Target or online on Amazon, these little lunch pails have dividers that separate various finger foods of choice. Gone are the days of slimy deli meat and Capri Suns. Variety is the spice of life—and so is health. Here are some healthy options and ideas for building out your Bento Box style lunch—no matter how old you are. Choose a protein, a healthy fat or two, along with some veggies and maybe some fruit or a sweet treat to top it off.
Healthy nutrition for back to school? Check. Now onto some physical activity (‘let’s get physical, physical!’). We know we don’t have to tell you twice that exercise does a body good, and here in Austin the sky’s the limit! Here are some off-the-beaten path options for adding some physical activity to your kiddo’s life.
CrossFit Kids. CrossFit Central has been running this after-school program for nearly a decade. Kids’ classes meet Monday through Thursday at the Burnet Road location to get their workout of the day. Great for the kid who loves to climb on things, flip upside down (gymnastics) and run his or her little heart out. Don’t let the word CrossFit scare you. All it is: functional fitness. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. centralathlete.com
THRIVE Girl & Teen. Self-esteem boosting fitness, nutrition, games and crafts for girls’ empowerment. Founded by Dr. Lauryn Lax of THRIVE Wellness & Recovery, girls meet after school in small groups or one-on-one sessions for 45–60 minutes to begin establishing healthy habits for self-care at a young age, as well as learn “survival skills” for navigating their elementary, middle school and high school years. Great for ages 7-18. Contact Lauryn@MeantToThrive.com for more info. meanttothrive.com
BAM Academy. Specializing in Parkour, ballistic movements, gymnastics and tumbling, this place is fun to say the least. They even offer adult classes. thebamacademy.com
YES! Fitness. Is your kiddo an athlete? Or thinking of becoming one? YES! helps kids begin to learn the art of training at a young age in order to help them increase their fitness levels and begin establishing proper technique and training habits early on. yesfitnessfranchise.com/classes/
Want to feel amazing, cure an ailment, enhance your energy, or improve your performance? There’s an oil for that. Essential oils are as old as prehistoric times, but in mainstream culture today, they are becoming more widespread. Here are a few oils to consider adding to you or your child’s school routine:
Enhance your attention in the classroom: Peppermint.
Ward off the “plague” (ie. Sickness everyone else is getting): Clove oill
Boost your brainpower: Frankincense.
Calm stress: Lavender.
The majority of oils are topical and lingual. Two reputable company lines to check out: doTERRA and Young Living.
There’s no question we live in a yoga town! And yoga is not just for grown-ups. Several studios specialize in yoga for kids. What better way to teach them mindfulness at a young age than the mind-body connection yoga promotes?
There’s an App for, well, just about everything—including fitness, nutrition and health for your kids! They will love these:
Kurbo (Childhood Weight Management) A health coaching app designed specifically for kids, teens and families for weight management and “making healthy choices.” It helps kids make smarter eating and exercise decisions and develop healthy habits. Ninety percent of Kurbo kids lose weight within three months.
Stop, Breathe & Think Encourages kids to learn the three skills in its title. Kids are challenged to stop and take stock of their thoughts and feelings; breathe through guided meditations; and then think with increased kindness and compassion for the world around them. A wonderful tool for developing positive mental habits for kids and adults.
FitnessKids Make physical activity even more fun for your kids. FitnessKids animates 25 exercises, ranging between good ol’ standbys, such as the crab-walk and wheelbarrow, to the challenges of a kazachok dance-off. Kids can play solo or with friends or siblings in “joust” mode.
Here’s to putting your best foot (and body) forward this new school year! We love back-to-school time: New routines, new motivation and a recommitment to healthy living.