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  • Writer's pictureLyndsay Boysen

What time is it? It's time for lunch!

If you teach or have little kids, you may recognize that catchy little line from the Bubble Guppies. I have been thinking a lot about food lately and, as a blog dedicated to teachers, how can we not talk about school lunch? As we jump back into the routine of the school year, we just don’t have the luxury of the laid back summer lunch anymore. The choices, kitchen convenience and prep time have disappeared and we are left with the challenging dilemma of what’s for lunch? Food and diet is an incredibly personal topic and everyone’s relationship with food is different. But at the end of the day, we all need to find the healthiest, most nutrient dense way of fueling our body on a daily basis so that we can energetically move through the school day!

Do you ever wonder why you may feel sluggish, distracted or have a little brain fog? Ever find yourself getting"hangry," have a headache, or get shaky and irritable? As teachers we are constantly challenged with disruptions to our eating schedules.

#teachers #teachersPD
What's for Lunch?

Depending on what you teach and how your day is scheduled, lunch time may be early in the morning or it may be well past the average noon time meal. This may change every single day. All of this can bring serious disruption to your body.

When it is time to eat, what we choose to fuel our body with has an enormous power over whether we have "symptoms" or not. For example, one the biggest triggers of being "hangry" and shaky can be the spike and drop of blood sugar levels.

I'm not talking to the amazing Type 1 Diabetes warriors out there. These amazing humans are dealing with this in a much different way on a minute to minute basis, every day of their life. I am talking about the teacher who may be feeling this way, despite having a clean bill of health. There has been some incredible research and information in the health and wellness space about regulating glucose spikes and eating to maintain a consistent, steady blood sugar level, the idea being that our bodies love a slight ebb and flow rather than riding the glucose rollercoaster. I have followed the work of Jessie Inchauspe, aka The Glucose Goddess, for several years now. As a biochemist, her work focuses on the health benefits of maintaining balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day. For example, she suggests avoiding sugary foods on an empty stomach and consuming them after you have eaten healthy protein, fat, and fiber, eating a greens/vegetable starter before consuming carbs to reduce a spike, and using apple cider vinegar as a way to regulate how glucose may impact your body.

The second reason we may always feel hungry, have trouble concentrating or maybe never feel full can be a result of not consuming enough protein. Protein consumption is a hot topic! I like to think of protein consumption as highly individual and a personal choice. I am a fairly conservative protein consumer, but that works for my body. If you are dabbling in building lean muscle or body building, your intake may be higher. With that said, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should be aiming for approximately 50 grams of protein a day! Take stock in what you are currently putting into your body, it may give you some answers that could seriously change how you feel day to day.

So what do we eat? Let’s talk about the cafeteria! First and foremost, this is not a post on the U.S. school lunch system. At the end of the day, I like convenience just as much as anyone but, depending on where you teach, the school lunch menu may not be the healthiest fuel for your body. Oftentimes this food can be loaded with oils and preservatives that may not serve our bodies well, and the food choices themselves may be centered around foods that are attractive to children (pizza, chicken nuggets, burgers and fries). Ok, if we are being honest, those are attractive to us grown ups too! On the other hand, school districts (like the one I live in) have made enormous strides in creating balanced, nutritious and locally sourced meals that are a great option for the busy teacher and family. The challenges lie in the choices and decisions that need to be made in the moment and oftentimes that is the toughest part of making healthy food choices.

How can we overcome these day to day lunch challenges? The easiest way to combat this is to intentionally prepare a bagged lunch! This allows you the opportunity to control all the ingredients that you put into your body, ensure that you fuel your body properly, and avoid any foods that may potentially be harmful and/or inflammatory to your body. I make my lunch in the morning and often build my meals around leftovers from dinner. If I don’t have leftovers, I always make sure that I have glass containers full of chopped raw and/or roasted vegetables, cooked clean proteins, and at least two whole grain carbs. In addition, I always stock my fridge with fruit, healthy fats and a pantry that has nuts, seeds and olives. The best approach is a well thought through plan, so take the time to think about how you can optimize your lunch box!

#teachers #teachersPD #alessonplanforwellness #schoollunch
Eat the Rainbow!!

Five Fueling Foods to Put in your Lunch Box!

1. Clean Protein (chicken, turkey, wild caught fish, grass fed beef, beans, tofu)

2. Healthy Fat (avocado, nut butter, seeds, olive oil/avocado oil, olives, eggs, salmon)

3. Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables (eat the rainbow, lots of color & greens, eat in season)

4. Fruit (eat your fruit with protein and fat!)

5. Unrefined, whole grain carbohydrates (no naked carbs please!)

Extra Credit!

  1. Not all calories are equal. Your food choices are more than just calorie intake. They have the power to fuel, heal, energize and fill you up in different ways.

  2. Leave intentional time between meals for your body to go through the full process of digestion.


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