This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, provides information about the benefits of educators making healthy eating choices.
Nutrition Tips for Busy Educators
Teaching is a mentally complex and challenging job. In the course of a school day, a teacher makes hundreds of decisions and responds quickly to the myriad of unexpected events that life in the classroom may take. If you are a teacher, you have a high-energy job, therefore it’s essential to prime yourself with the right fuel.
But in the busy life of a teacher, who has time to think about healthy eating?Unfortunately, the less we think about what we eat, the worse our diets can get. We don’t want to fall into the trap of defaulting to snacking on “convenience foods” that may be high in sugar and saturated fats and low in nutrients needed to sustain energy levels.
Consider your nutrition to reduce your potential for low energy throughout the school day:
- Don’t forget to feed your brain! The brain consumes calories, too, about 600 per day on average. Food choices that support cardiovascular health are also good for the brain and may increase cognitive function.
- Reduce the consumption of foods with added sugar, which includes many prepared foods and snacks.
- Here is a good reference to check out: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Seeds, nuts, olive oil and avocados are ready sources of monounsaturated fats, while fish such as salmon and albacore tuna contain polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids which help support brain function. Fats increase the feeling of satiety and help to keep hunger pangs at bay.
- Instead of relying heavily on red and processed meats, you can add more healthy sources of protein by planning meals to include seafood, poultry, eggs and legumes like beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
Start the day off with healthy choices
Instead of processed cereals, consider nutrient-dense foods like a veggie loaded omelet with a cup of coffee or tea to provide fuel to keep the brain firing all the way to lunch. Then when recharging at lunch time, consider a palm-sized portion of protein such as chicken or fish, along with a colorful salad topped with an olive oil-based dressing. This can keep you going strong all day. Don’t forget you may need snacks to carry you over, so reach for that fresh fruit or nuts to help level your blood sugar and keep you feeling energized.