Almost everyone's holiday season has included a wide variety of food and drink, not all of it completely healthy for us. After indulging over the holidays, many of us are making ourselves and/or our loved ones a promise to eat healthier in the new year.
For people who maintain healthy eating habits, food is the pharmacy of feeling good and staying focused and energized, or relaxed and calm.
In our book Thinking for Results: Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement By As Much as 30 Percent, we explain that healthy eating is important for fueling the Body-Brain System.
Here are recommendations for students, parents, and teachers to eat well in 2015:
- Eat four or five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. In general, the more colorful, the better these foods are for you.
- Avoid sugary drinks and starchy foods. Candy and sugary snacks and meals that are high in carbohydrates may provide a brief burst of energy, but after the energy comes a "sugar crash" that causes your body to feel tired.
- Avoid breads and other foods with refined flour. Instead eat food with whole grains, which are better at regulating the rates at which glucose enters the bloodstream.
- If you want to be sharp, smart, and energized, research suggests that you should start your meal with protein such as fish, meat, or nuts. Use the palm of your hand as a guide for a proper serving size of protein. The body can properly process about 5 or 6 ounces of protein at one time.
- Avoid saturated fats, such as those food in whole milk, cheese, red meat, and chocolate. Instead add more monounsaturated fats to your diet, such as those found in olive oil and many nuts.
- Eat foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. Iron and calcium are especially important nutrients for adolescents.