It’s that time of year when swimsuits, vacations and long nights are replaced by school buses, homework and early bedtimes. As many Central Texas children and teenagers return to school this month, keep in mind the importance of establishing a healthy routine that includes safe habits, plenty of sleep and a well-balanced diet.
Whether getting to school by foot, bicycle or vehicle, remain alert at all times, and obey all traffic rules. Children riding the bus should wait until the bus stops before approaching it, and they should only board/exit the bus at designated locations. Children bicycling to school should wear a snug-fitting helmet and reflective gear.
Children participating in sports, band, cheerleading or dance should get physicals before their activities begin, follow proper warm-up and cool-down techniques, and drink plenty of fluids. If children complain of exhaustion or pain, listen to them and do not force them to play through the pain.
Adequate sleep greatly improves behavior, attention span and memory. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends children ages 6 to 12 should sleep 9 to 12 hours per day, and teenagers 13 to 18 should sleep 8 to 10 hours per day.
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off the TV, and put away media devices at least an hour before bedtime.
Follow a healthy diet
Keep children hydrated by sending a water bottle to school. Experts recommend children and teenagers consume approximately two to three quarts of water a day.
Make sure your child maintains a well-balanced, nutritious diet comprised of protein, grains, veggies, fruit and sources of calcium. The more color incorporated into a child’s lunch, the better!
Start the day off with a wholesome breakfast, and pack a lunch full of nutritious options—or educate your children about healthy choices in the lunch line.
Try the recipe below for a hearty, nutritious breakfast or lunch.
Healthy Breakfast Sliders
- 1/2 red bell pepper (medium size)
- 2 cups of spinach
- 3 stalks of green onion
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 10 wheat dinner rolls or slider buns
- 8 large eggs
- 4 ounces of sliced ham
- 3 tablespoons of honey mustard dressing
- 6 slices of cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Chop bell pepper, spinach and green onions into small pieces. Sauté in olive oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes, until soft.
- Meanwhile, whisk 8 eggs together. Pour into vegetable mixture after veggies are cooked and continue to stir until eggs are fully cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut rolls in half horizontally so that the bottoms are separate from tops. Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 9x13 baking dish.
- Spread a layer of honey mustard on the roll bottoms, if desired. Layer on cooked eggs with veggies, ham and then cheese. Cover with the top half of the rolls.
- Bake for 25 minutes until cheese is melted and rolls are browned.
Tip: If making these ahead of time, place the cheese underneath the eggs and ham to prevent soggy bottoms. Cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, and check often to see when thoroughly heated.