Health & Wellness

Healthy Start: Breakfast Fuels Your Child's Day
Did you know good nutrition begins with breakfast? Eating a healthy breakfast provides the first fuel of the day for our brains and bodies, giving us the energy we need to start the day strong! The fuel kids get from breakfast helps them think and focus better in class and gives them energy to play during recess.

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A balanced breakfast has at least one food from each of the "3 out of 5" food groups:
  1. Grains, breads + cereals;
  2. Vegetables OR fruits;
  3. Milk + milk products OR meat, beans + nuts.
Be sure to eat a balanced breakfast each morning!

CLICK HERE to download a crossword puzzle to test your knowledge about the importance of a good breakfast . 

Mindfulness

Maintaining balance between energy in and energy out helps create a healthy lifestyle. For the past few years, we have concentrated our efforts on teaching proper nutrition and serving size for “energy in” and the importance of adequate exercise as “energy out.” As a school community, we have made great strides in our healthy choices.


Due to the rising number of adolescents in our own school district with physical and psychological ailments from academic and social stressors, we need to broaden our definition of energy balance. Finding and maintaining a balance between work and free time is as equally essential to a healthy lifestyle as a balance between nutrition and exercise. For our kids, this means there needs to be a balance between academics (and extracurricular activities) and free, unstructured play. Today, too many kids are pressured to excel in academics, sports, and art/music. We, as parents, shuffle them back and forth from one enrichment class to another, and the amount of free time for children gets shorter and shorter.


The SRV Council of PTA’s Health & Wellness Committee recently held an informative session regarding children, stress, and the practice of mindfulness. Deepa V., a proud parent of a Live Oak first grade student, had the opportunity to attend the meeting and shares her thoughts with us in the following article. For more information about mindfulness, please visit the SRV Council of PTA’s Health & Wellness site at http://srvcpta-ca.schoolloop.com/Health-Wellness,


Mindfulness
By: Deepa V., Live Oak Parent


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is defined as a state of active, open attention on the present moment. It is a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment in time.

Does Mindfulness involve religion and Meditation?

Mindfulness need not be always combined with meditation and can be practiced as we go through our daily routine. Although the concept originated in the east, the benefits of the practice in alleviating stress and anxiety in children and adults have been widely accepted. Mindfulness is both ethically and religiously neutral and encourages us to live and experience the present fully.

What are some benefits of practicing mindfulness?

Mindfulness can help in the following ways-

  1. Improve our ability to concentrate and be better listeners

  2. Heighten self-awareness of our actions and words

  3. Remind us to think before we react

  4. Encourage compassion towards ourselves and our situations and ultimately towards others

  5. Improve our physical health by helping us make healthy food choices and with portion control

  6. Reduce stress and anxiety levels in children and adults.

How do we practice mindfulness given how busy we are?

Here are some simple suggestions to incorporate in our daily lives –


  • Commute Mindfully Be aware of the people around you as you drive or walk to school. Notice the voices of children talking and laughing, see the trees and notice the color of the sky.

  • Work Mindfully Be mindful as you do your chores. If you wash dishes, be aware of the sound of the water, the temperature, the smell of the soap and of the thoughts that come and go through your mind.

  • Eat Mindfully Be aware of the food you are eating. Notice the temperature, taste and texture of the food. Be aware of the effect it has on your body.

  • Mindful morning be aware as you go about your morning routine –look at the morning sky, listen to the sounds of the birds and notice the aroma of breakfast and coffee. As you pack your bags, be aware of where and how you put your things together.

What do the experts have to say about Mindfulness?

Michaela Kissinger, a yoga instructor who incorporates mindfulness practice into her classes and daily routine believes that it takes a conscious effort to practice some form of mindfulness every day. She defines mindfulness as an awareness of oneself and surroundings. Although it may be unrealistic to be mindful every minute of every day, she believes that practicing mindfulness in short blips a few times a day will positively impact the quality of the day.

She suggests being mindful with children when they’re angry or upset. Begin by asking them to describe how they feel, ask them to feel their feet on the ground and then gently draw their attention to something that brings peace or happiness. You may get some genuine insight into your child, she says. She believes that children learn by watching you - when they see you react with empathy and compassion it encourages them to do the same.

Some schools have started bringing mindfulness into the classroom. The Mindful Minute program has been introduced by yoga instructor, Amelia Andaleon to a local elementary school. It encourages teachers and children to practice one-minute of mindfulness each day when possible. She believes that even this small change has positively impacted the quality of the school day.

This article has quoted information published in Psychology journals, Psychology Today magazine, Huffington Post articles and bay area yoga professionals.