With fall quickly approaching, children and family’s are preparing to head back to school. After the long dog days of summer this can be a shock to a families schedule. But with a few small choices you can stay on your course to optimal health.
- Do as much as possible the night before. This will ensure you are not rushed in the morning. Breakfast is the one thing you don’t want to cut out of your schedule to make up time. Eat something that is easy to prepare for breakfast. Starting your day with a healthy choice will help you stay on track all day long. A hard boiled egg and a 1/2 whole wheat English muffin can be a great on the go breakfast. Also, a meal replacement shake or bar make great on the go companions
- Pack healthy snacks in your purse, briefcase or car. Healthy options you can bring from home can include almonds, fruit, meal replacement shakes and bars. Fueling between meals helps to prevent getting hungry and over eating at a later meal. If you have access to a refrigerator during the day bring yogurt, cheese cubes, baby carrots, celery sticks and all natural peanut butter.
- Stock your house with nothing but healthy foods and snacks for kids. When you have junk food around it can be too tempting for little one who want an after school snack. Fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and veggies are all great options.
- Plan meals and grocery shop ahead of time. Include a couple good old standbys on your weekly menu. Your family doesn’t expect a gourmet meal every night. Pick 3 easy to prepare, healthy meals that you can cook in under 30 minutes such as Mesquite Grilled Shrimp and Sirloin & Vegetable Kabobs (see recipes here).
- Delegate…assign children age appropriate tasks to keep them involved and help get dinner started. Ask your teen to start chopping the veggies, your pre-teen to help gather needed ingredients and place them on the counter and get the little ones involved in setting the table and folding napkins. Children take pride in being a part of a meal and will be more likely to eat what is in front of them if they feel invested.
- Turn off the TV during dinner. This acts as a two for one benefit for your family. Not only do you tend to eat less when you are mindful of your plate but you also have the opportunity to find out how your children are adjusting to the school year. Don’t forget if teens and pre-teens aren’t as open as you would like them to be, don’t pressure them to talk, watch for non-verbal cues and trust your instincts, after all you have known them their whole lives.
- Don’t over book…by keeping one weekday afternoon free it gives your children time to relax and recharge. It can also provide time to catch up or get ahead on school work which can help keep stress levels down.
I personally hate the word "FAT" and this picture is not real (Photoshop) but I believe it gives a great perspective on what I have felt like on the inside after losing 100 lbs. I had a healthier, thinner body but I still had a "FAT" head/mind. I still thought about food like my former self and I was still consuming a fatty diet of unhealthy thoughts and other negative information.
There is an obesity problem taking place here in North America (and elsewhere) and it doesn't have to do with one's weight or size of their head. This obesity problem is less visible to the naked eye but it may be even more costly to one’s life if they don't take immediate action.
We live in an era of ever-increasing information overload and mental candy. Social media, news, radio, podcasts, blogs, social interaction, on-demand TV shows and more coming at us from every direction and every device, all day, every day. Most of it is junk food or mental candy for the brain and we’re consuming it in LARGE quantities.
It feels relaxing to the brain when we're feeling stressed or bored so we consume it and the numbing effect sets in. However, without a doubt it's numbing affect is putting a heft of discouragement on our body and it is taxing our ability to achieve optimal health and live the extraordinary lives we all desire.
Physical obesity is not caused by the overload of available food; it is caused by the way we think about food and the overconsumption of calories beyond what the body can use.The same is true for mental obesity. It is not the consumption of available information; it is the overconsumption of bad information and what it does to our brain in terms of our lack of motivation and desire to act upon our goals and dreams. Mental obesity has consequences just as dire—hypertension, decision paralysis, loss of concentration, and diminished creativity and learning.
The solution to a fat head is similar to having a fat and/or an unhealthy body:
We need to change our thinking, habits and what we're consuming. We need to avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient information such as sensational television, useless celebrity trivia and other mind-numbing online commentary or unhealthy conversations. Just because it’s around us doesn’t mean we need to consume it. Make a healthy choice and choose to fuel your brain with something healthy every day!
Yes, we will be tempted to indulge in some unhealthy information or thinking at every turn, but trust me, if we abstain for a prolonged period (i.e. 30 days), we’ll lose our taste for it altogether. If we devour several servings of head-healthy, nutrient-rich information every day we can transform ourselves in a matter of months.
By reading the books, blogs, and positive social media to learn about best practices, healthy recipes, weight loss/management tips and plugging into your healthy support system we will burn off the mental fat! Eventually we’ll train our minds into a lean machines that will enable us to challenge ourselves in other areas of our lives to achieve new goals and heights.
Ready for a 'CHANGE' in your mental diet?