Oct 25, 2013
Friday: Food and Children's Behavior
One of my favorite times of the day is right after lunch. As you know, I am a kindergarten teacher, so after a much needed break away from my cuties for recess and lunch, I am always refreshed and energized and super-excited to pick them up after eating lunch, and anxious to start our afternoon together. I also am a secret spy. I love to check out what my students are eating - taking the opportunity to check out the trendy new snacks and goodies that keep kids happy and what parents are sending to school each day.
[caption id="attachment_1076" align="aligncenter" width="462"] Cooper and Meade - such happy boys[/caption]
With my oldest son's diagnosis of Celiac Disease in July, I am even more aware and sensitive to the foods around me. I am more sensitive to the allergies and needs of my students and super stalkerish about what my students are consuming on a daily basis. My goal is never to JUDGE the choices of other parents either. I totally understand why Lunchables are a big hit and why people pack the items that they do. There are days when I WISH that were still an option for our family. However, upon reflection, I am grateful for the opportunity to provide my kids each day with healthy nourishing food that no longer damages their guts and fogs their brain.
I have always been a big believer that food has a direct impact on SOME students behavior. I also feel that SOME kids could eat whatever and whenever and have no effects at all. Those kids and families are lucky. I have been a kindergarten teacher for eight, plus, years. In that time, I have had at least 20 students in my classes per year. So I have had the great pleasure of teaching, mentoring and loving close to 200 different kids and their families. As I have matured and learned as a parent and educator, I have come to be a true believer that foods can play a huge role in the behaviors of young children. I have seen the direct results of a diet change as a parent, and am excited to share my knowledge and beliefs with parents that are struggling with understanding their child's struggles in the classroom or at home. My fear is that people will think I am crazy. I don't want people to think that I want or believe that every child will be like my own. However, I do want them to know that my child has had some pretty significant behavior and emotional changes due to the fact that we have removed ONE thing from his diet: gluten.
[caption id="attachment_1078" align="aligncenter" width="539"] Left: grapes, edamame, cheese stick and almonds Right: pumpkin pancakes with peanut butter, carrots, apples and raisins[/caption]
Whether reactions are triggered by dyes, chemicals, gluten, or other ingredients, food is able to change a child and, in my opinion, alter students from their best and most capable state in which they learn and succeed in the classroom. I have seen it first hand with my own son. Food does make a difference.
With that being said, I wanted to share some lunch ideas that we use with our kids. The trigger we have removed from our diet is gluten. We do eat foods that are not organic, processed, or contain dyes in them, although we try to keep them to a minimum. I feel strongly that dyes are another huge trigger for my son, and has been since he was very young. We would love to have you share some of your favorite, kid-friendly and healthy meals that you send your kids to school with each day. Log your meals on Facebook or Instagram using #hausofgirlsfitfamilylunchswap . I want to be better about sharing my own meals as well.
[caption id="attachment_1077" align="aligncenter" width="616"] Left: grapes, melon, apples, and homemade trail mix, rice chips and an egg Center: blueberries, cheddar cheese, kiwi, banana, frozen yogurt, puffs Right: popcorn, peaches, carrots, cheddar cheese, homemade ice pop[/caption]
We would love for you to weigh in on this topic and share your personal experiences with food for both yourself and your children. We are anxious to hear and learn more information about how to continue to provide healthy lunch options for our growing boys and girls.
Wishing you all a great weekend and GO CARDS!!!!