Can you feel it…the anticipation, new friends, the smell of the hallways and cafeteria, new classrooms, new schools, the chill in the air, the sound of the school buses and alarm clocks, and the hurriedness of schedules? Parents ‘Back-to-School Night’. Do you have a school day memory?
For those fortunate to have or foster children, create an adventure of school shopping for books, supplies, clothes, socks & shoes, lunchboxes and new backpacks, enjoy the moment and the newness – it is fleeting! The anticipation of new classes, new activities, and new friends are both exciting and overwhelming at times. So we prep our children with their school necessities and send them off with a hug, kiss, a wish and a prayer that all will experience a great day.We, as parents, have THE most important career of ‘parenting’. WE are raising the next generation that goes out into the world and into society by making and being the difference. How are we feeding them?
With many children (including my own) who work with food allergies, intolerances, and simply eating good healthy foods that will stimulate and work harmoniously with our brains, there are choices and options. Our children are in school to study and to achieve their greatest potential in their celebrated successes and milestones. For starters, read the labels of the food and drinks, eliminating sugars and corn syrups. Sugars make us tired and sluggish, and the rate of diabetes in our country is alarming.
‘Brain Food’ ~ it’s a good thing… Protein is a must in the building blocks of healthy cellular structure. Teach your children the importance of fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which are packed with vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and function. Eliminate the ‘white stuff’ of processed foods, by substituting whole grains and whole foods.
Remember ‘ants on a log’…? Fill celery pieces with your favorite nut butter and top with raisins, or try chopped apples, pears or berries in season. Pack it or create it for an after-school snack.
Create a ‘face’ on a round piece of whole-grain bread, waffle, gluten-free bread, or mochi. Spread bread with nut butter, vegan cheese or vegetables for hair (grated carrots work great!), raisins for eyes, red pepper for lips, and a cherry for the nose. Experiment with the many fruits and vegetables, call in the kids…create a moment of togetherness, teach, experiment and have fun in the creativity. Children are ‘quick studies’ when you share your time. They will create it themselves the next.
For snacks on-the-go, make it special and pack it. For pre-school and grade-school children, cut out whole grain or gluten-free breads using a cookie cutter, spread with sugar-free nut butter, add a ‘love note’, pack it and bring on the smiles!
With many hungry mouths to feed, a jar of nut butter, fruit spread and a loaf of whole-grain bread go a long, long way. Make a donation to your local church food drive or local food banks. Gather a group of friends and get involved in a service project in making PB&J sandwiches and arrange for delivery to those less fortunate. Teach the children the meaning of giving and the feeling of warmth in receiving. Feed the hungry…give…connect with others…make a difference…