Although the teen mantra, “Sleep, eat, move, study, and REPEAT” is simple, it does require planning.
It’s a no-brainer that teens have a lot on their plate. But what may not be on their plate is complete nutrition.
The formative stage of adolescence requires adequate nutrition since teens are bombarded by a myriad of physical, cognitive, personal, and academic changes.
The right food is necessary for brain development, mood management, stress reduction, a healthy body, and positive body image.
However, between schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, social lives, and employment, a teen’s busy schedule may leave little time to make good food choices.
All the same, nutritious foods have a tremendous impact upon boosting brain power, fueling physical exercise, supporting a strong immune system, and providing balance for the emotional needs during this demanding stage in life.
Nutrient-dense foods are necessary to provide energy and building material to the body for optimum health and brain function. Diet and brain function go hand in hand as foods fuel and support mental function.
Eating a variety of whole grains, colourful fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, and quality protein sources provide the nutrients essential for mind and body.
Ask any student about nutrition, and they know better than to eat fast food, sugary drinks, and miss meals. But they don’t always do better.
To bridge the gap for students, parents at Seven Summits Centre for Learning are providing a monthly hot lunch.
This parent-initiative supports the students to indulge, for free, in a home-cooked hot meal.
Starting in October, parents served a full turkey dinner. This was followed in November with an Italian-themed meal of lasagna, meatballs, flatbread, and various salads.
Seven Summits students have been eating awesome things at school.“We just want them to enjoy a hot meal,” said Heidi Krajinovik, the VSS board volunteer coordinator.
“Our plan is to continue to offer these meals monthly to support our students’ nutritional needs while nourishing their bodies and minds.”
As for the other days of the week, students are encouraged to bring bagged lunches to school.
Effective approaches for providing nutritious lunches include five steps.
First, get organized with a list of favorite food options that can be easily assembled. Next, ensure each meal is balanced with a protein, fiber-filled starch or whole grain, green vegetable or fruit, fruit, and of course, water for hydration.
Also mix the choices up with a variety of healthy snacks like trail-mix or nutrient-dense protein bars.
Finally, make this a habit that sticks by carrying a lunch kit back home to wash and repeat.