Top 5 Back to School Health Tips For Mums
Summer holidays are almost over the days will be getting shorter and the temperature dropping. Sounds depressing I know! And to top it off, it’s time to think about getting organised for the kids to go back to school. This can be a time that added stresses come on board, a general sense of unease and worry happens and more energy output is needed by mums to keep the household in order.
Here are my top 5 health tips for Mums to keep it all together!
1. Keep Your Energy Levels Up:
Brown rice, pearl barley, rye, spelt, millet and udon noodles – these grain based foods provide all the B vitamins for energy
Sweet potatoes, parsnips and raw carrots
Spinach, asparagus, blackberries, apricots, apples , parsley, watercress and beetroot – all great sources of non-constipating iron
Lentils (rich in iron and B vitamins), chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed peas – pulses are one of the best sources of slow-release energy. Include them daily in salads, soups and casseroles.
2. Eat Mood Uplifting Foods:
Cottage cheese, turkey, fish and bananas – contain tryptophan, a known mood-enhancer
Brown rice and oats – boost serotonin, the happy neurotransmitter; eat with a small amount of protein
Seaweeds and wild rice – rich in iodine, which is essential for our metabolism, energy production and weight management. Sushi wrapped in nori seaweed is a good option!
Flaxseed and sunflower seed oils – use in salad dressings, as this improves your mood
Raw cocoa – contains antioxidants and is mood-enhancing
Sardines, mackerel, salmon, trout – omega 3 is vital for the absorption of other brain and mood enhancing nutrients. Without Omega 3 in the diet, the mood will inevitably drop. Vegetarians should consume nuts, seeds and their oils on a daily basis to ensure they are getting adequate amounts of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids
3. Try to Stay Calm:
Dark green leafy vegetables, including kale, broccoli, savoy cabbage, watercress, parsley, rocket and courgettes – each contains lots of magnesium which helps in stress management!
Brown rice (short grain or basmati), porridge oats and quinoa – for calming B vitamins
Almonds – the richest nut in magnesium; soak them for a few hours or overnight in water or rice milk to make them more digestible or put them in a blender for homemade nut milk
Eggs – a great source of magnesium as well as choline helping to balance both your ‘get up and go’ and your sense of calm
Chamomile and valerian herbal teas are great before bedtime – they help you wind down after a busy day and calm the mind and body
4. Boost The Families Immune System:
Eat organic as much as possible. Make sure the whole family’s diet is high in fruits and vegetables, which are packed full of immune boosting nutrients.
Eat more fish, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, parsley, green beans, apples, green salads, squashes, watercress, papaya, mango, quinoa and millet – foods full of Vitamin C, Zinc and B vitamins
Eat more purple, red and orange foods – blueberries, bilberries, blackberries are particularly high in immune boosting nutrients, as are sweet potato, apricots, pumpkin and red peppers
Eat more freshly made soups – these can be made at home or freshly bought soups from supermarkets. They are easy on the digestive system and full of nutrients. Add barley, quinoa, brown rice, lentils to soups.
Take a daily probiotic – 70-80% of our immune tissue is situated in our digestive tracts. Probiotics can modulate the immune system, enhancing the body's innate immunity. This modulating effect helps alleviate excessive inflammation in the gut, thereby boosting immune function.
5. Set bedtimes at a decent hour:
You may have been more lenient during the summer months and let the kids stay up late, but now is the time to set some boundaries again. As you know your free time starts when they go to bed! Plus, it’s essential for kids and adults to get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throughout the day.
*Written by nutritionist Marianna Sulic