I wrote a quick "5 Things" for my daughter's middle school PTA newsletter and thought I would share it here as well. I might add, we are not perfect over here. Now in our 4th week of school we are finally getting the routine down and I have only had to make one trip up to school with a forgotten item. Which technically should have been avoided but I gave in to my daughter's argument that it was "just fine" to wear flip flops to school. No sooner had I dropped her off when my phone rings with her asking me to bring "closed-toe shoes" because it is required in her science class. Don't you wish our kids would just trust us sometimes???
Anyways, now onto the quick 5 things you can do to have healthy, happy kiddos:
Now that school is back in full swing, we have all hopefully settled into our new routines. This abrupt change in schedule from the relaxed weeks of summer can be stressful for the entire family and put kids at risk for getting sick. Starting a fresh year is a great time to implement healthier habits for our kids. Here are 5 things we can do as parents to keep our kids healthy and happy:
1. Plenty of sleep: For kids 12-18 years old, it is recommended they get at least 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Establish a nighttime routine and try to have lights out by 9 or 10pm to ensure they are well rested for the school day.
2. Healthy breakfast: When we sleep too late and rush out the door, it causes our kids to have anxiety and stress before getting into the classroom. Get up a bit earlier to make sure there is time for them to sit down and enjoy a healthy breakfast. Some suggested ideas are: Coconut yogurt with granola and fresh berries, apple slices with nut butter and toast, green smoothie, or even a burrito with black beans, eggs and salsa. Try to keep away from anything packaged as they are filled with preservatives and sugar.
3. Stay active: This is very important for the middle school years as our kids are developing habits they will take into high school and their adult years. Make sure as parents we are encouraging them to be involved in sports that interest them or even taking a family bike ride. If your child shows interest in something, do your best to allow them to explore new things. Team sports are a great way to stay active as well as meet new friends in the community.
4. Lay off the caffeine: Our children should not need caffeine to get through their days. Always make water the easiest and fastest drink for them when thirsty. Many kids are mildly dehydrated every day because they are consuming way more sugary drinks than water. Set the example as a parent and drink your share of water as well. If possible, don’t have
sodas and sugary juices at home. Save these as a treat when you go out or on the weekend.
5. Stay organized: I know this is difficult to do, but it takes the anxiety and stress off of everyone in the busy mornings. Have your student pick out their clothes and pack their backpacks the night before. Establishing this healthy routine will set our children up for success as adults by planning ahead. It will also mean less trips by parents to the school dropping off forgotten items.
Here’s to a great, healthy new school year!
I have always worked full-time since my daughter was born so I haven't had the chance to be a "PTA Mom." I was always willing to send in $20 for whatever the PTA needed, but I just didn't have the time to volunteer myself. This year, my daughter started middle school (6th Grade) and I decided that I would find time to be more involved. I am realizing how fast these years are flying by and want to make sure I don't miss anything. I also want to know what is going on with her and the school that she spends 8 hours at each day.
So when I saw there was an opening for the "Healthy Lifestyles Chair" I immediately signed up. I didn't give myself time to second guess it or list all the reasons why I couldn't do it. How could I not make time for something like this?
So tonight I am sitting here trying to put together my official Plan Of Work for this position that apparently has no history or guidelines to work from. I have been reading until my eyes are crossing about what other schools in Texas have done. What I am discovering is exactly why we need more health information in our schools.
Here are a few statistics that I came across that are really alarming:
Most kids, and lots of adults, naturally reach for a Coke or energy drink when they are thirsty or feeling tired. It has become a full blown habit. And we all know that habits are hard to break.
Every time we drink a sugary soda, we are consuming a huge amount of sugar and completely empty calories. So what do we do? What can I do with this position I have volunteered for? I think the answer is education. Many kids have no idea how bad these sodas and energy drinks are for them. Did you know that one 20 ounce can of Coke has 17.6 teaspoons of sugar? Drinking just one of these a day could contribute enough extra calories to equal 27 pounds a year. Now that is just crazy!
Here is what I propose for parents out there:
I still have to finish writing my POW for the PTA. I am not even sure where to start! But I am going to do my best to fulfill this position as best I can.
Here is the first part copied from Livestrong.com regarding soda consumption: "Drinking soda or other carbonated beverages each day may be a recipe for high blood pressure, reduced kidney function and kidney stones. This setup for kidney disease happens through a number of actions that take place when you consume just two carbonated beverages a day for a long period of time. You may think sugar-free diet soda may shield you from these adverse health effects, but you'd be wrong. Be it a cola, non-cola, diet soda or other sugar-sweetened carbonated beverage, carbonated beverages can increase your risk of serious health issues."
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/419057-the-effects-of-carbonated-beverages-on-kidneys/#ixzz2ZY8CReiC
While people think Diet Soda is better for them, it really isn't. Over time, the fake sweeteners in Diet Sodas like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine might mess with our bodies' abilities to process the calories from sweet things, making it harder for us to metabolize the sugars we get from other sources like candy, cookies, or even fruit.
There are plenty of studies out there that are now showing that drinking Diet Sodas actually INCREASE the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
Also, I see this same scenario everywhere I go: People are eating a fatty and unhealthy meal and pairing it with a Diet Coke. The thinking for some is that I can have an extra serving of my food because my drink is diet. This can also cause people to put on excess weight.
If you are trying to cut back or quit drinking sodas all-together (which I highly recommend!) you should not stop suddenly. You will have a pretty decent headache from the caffeine withdrawals. When working with my clients, I have them drink a little bit less each day. If you are reaching for a soda, try squeezing fresh lemon or lime into a glass of water and drink that and take note of how you feel.
I used to drink Coke several times a week but once I learned what is in each can, I gave it up. It wasn't too hard for me and I don't miss it at all anymore. However, every now and then I will have a craving for a Coke Icee and I will treat myself to one. This is a treat for me and I make a big deal of enjoying every last bit without any guilt!
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!