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**Check out Katie and Megan’s special discount for Easyread families here!**
As nutritionists we engage in countless conversations with clients about “feeling better,” where we discuss an array of different goals – better digestion, less headaches, solid sleep, hormone balancing, weight loss, fewer aches and pains…The list goes on, but when we say “more energy…” you know what happens? People’s eyes light up. “Yes, I want more energy… more, more, more.” This is huge for parents, but you know what? It’s huge for your kids too. Here’s the thing: we all only have so much time in the day. When we were asked to write a piece on nutrition and the effect it has on kids in school, well we realized something: what people need are the most efficient ways to feed their kids and the foods that will support their minds and body –  but also which foods will give you, the parent, the sustainable energy you need! You know what? The principles are the same behind the two.
There are a number of messages out there that tell us what’s best – low fat, low carb, more protein, less protein, more meals, less meals… oh and not to mention all the food labels that tout “heart health, “whole grain,” “kid approved” and so on. What do we believe? Where do we turn?Everything takes energy. Particularly brain health and your children’s focus at school. As a nutrition team we look at food as our energy baseline. It’s where we start.  Real, whole foods provide us access to available nutrients that make us feel alive! Think about it this way: The more alive your foods are, the more alive you are. Real food goes bad. Real food rots, bruises, and molds. It’s the very enzymes in those foods that we need for better digestion. This leads us to MORE energy.  Healthy foods are nutrient dense, that means lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that we need to keep up. Our immune, brain, digestive and hormonal systems all depend on these to keep us running. When these systems run better we run better.

Real food doesn’t have to warrant health claims. It’s just good by nature. There is no wildly funded Broccoli Counsel but yet we know, it is dang good for us.So what to eat? We’ve listed some of the most important things to incorporate into you and your family’s regimen below. Our numero uno game changer though?
Breakfast. It’s critical for kids and critical for you. Caveat: so many breakfast foods will actually deplete you of nutrients instead of stocking you. Think of typical breakfast: sugary cereals, fruit juices, pastries, bagels, and rolls. Common ingredient? Refined sugar and flour. You know what they both do (aside from directly contributing to weight gain)? They both spike your blood sugar and leave you crashing hours later. They are the energy bandits and the focus killers. So what to eat? Try to make sure you and your kids get this combo at breakfast every single day: protein/fat/fiber. Check out our granola recipe below.

Nutrients, Superfoods & Tips

  • Choline: a vitamin like substance is vital for memory stem cells which are formed deep within our brains – the more we have the better our memories. Choline actually helps the brain communicate with the rest of the body. Richest sources? Egg yolks (skip the egg white only meals!), nuts, beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, yogurt and buckwheat. (Warning: Because eggs can cause allergic reactions in infants, babies should not be given either before 1 year).
  • Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids: get plenty of them! They the good stuff originally found in breast milk and then later we get from cold water fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and pastured eggs and meats. They are crucial for brain and eye development, not to mention stabilizing mood. As we get older we get more and more exposed to inflamation – and the omega-3’s act like a fire hydrant, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Antioxidants: found in veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds – but most highly concentrated in berries, intimidation will boost cognitive function while simultaneously reducing oxidative stress on the brain. Double whammy.
  • Iron: make sure to get enough! It’s one of the most common deficiencies in children. Only a minor dificienc y can cause a decline in cognitive thinking. It’s in more than just beef (though organic and grass-fed meats are a wonderfully healthy option!)  think sesame seeds, spinach, lentils and garbanzo beans.
  • Complex Carbohydrates: fiber rich whole grains or starchy veggies, they are crucial to the brains’s fucntioning and our overall energy because they act like fuel. Broken down into glucose, the body and brain will directly use them for energy. A smart choice?  Oats: This grain has good amounts of protein, but equally important – fiber. This will slowly digest giving them a steady steam of energy. We’re talking old fashioned oats though – the instant/flavored kinds are packed with sugar.
  • Chia Seeds: The darling of the nutrition world. Worried about calcium if your kid has a milk allergy? 1 Tbsp of chia seeds provide more calcium than a glass of milk. Guess what else they provide? A huge pack of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Don’t skip meals. Period. This is the biggest energy robber of them all. Keep small packs of raw nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit, veggies, bean dips, plain yogurt, etc., on hand for you and the kids. When your kitchen is stocked with healthy options (check out our wildly popular protein power bars below), they have something to reach for before asking for the chocolate covered granola bar.

Protein Power Bars
Makes sixteen 1” square power bites

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup walnuts
½ cup freshly ground flaxseed
½ cup flaked, unsweetened coconut ½ cup almond, cashew, pecan or sun- flower seed butter
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup chopped dried black figs

Pulse nuts, flaxseed, coconut, nut butter and salt in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add melted coconut oil to food processor along with remaining ingredients. Pulse to create a coarse and pasty mixture. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens. Cut into mini bars and store in refrigerator. Do NOT eat all at once. You will be fueled for a marathon.

If nut allergies live in your family, here’s a sweet treat you can feel good giving your family. Tons of good foods and chocolate cravings dead in its tracks. Double whammy.

Quinoa Granola
6 ½ cup servingsMake a batch of this on Sunday and have for the week. Quinoa is packed with protein which is exactly what you and the kids need to start any day off right.

2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)*
½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
½ cup dried cherries, unsweetened
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, pepitas, and dried cherries (or other fruit). Then, spread evenly on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, honey, and vanilla. Then pour over quinoa mixture and toss to evenly coat. Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing mixture every 10 minutes to ensure the granola cooks evenly.

*Feel free to get creative and swap out your favorite raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit for each other. If you have nut allergies in your family stick with seeds or add a dollop of sunflower seed butter!

Prescribe Nutrition was a serendipitous collaboration between Katie Jasper Health and The Root of Health; some may say it was even written in the stars. Katie Jasper and Megan Morris were introduced during a nutrition mentorship program, and realized immediately they came from the same school of thought: helping people achieve their ultimate goals. Most importantly they have use the same approach: meeting people where they are at.
Katie and Megan like to get to the ‘root’ of health problem with their clients. They’re not going to give them a pill if they can’t sleep. They’re not going to tell them to count calories if they can’t lose weight. They’re going to ask why. The reality is this: everyone deserves to have all the tools they need to make long lasting health changes.There should be no secrets with nutrition. No one should feel lost in the world of health. Prescribe|Nutrition’s goal? Teach people to listen to their bodies and uncover what works for them. We founded Prescribe Nutrition for everyone out there who has wanted to improve their health and educate themselves on healthy eating but hasn’t taken the plunge. Consider
this Nutrition, 101.
Join Katie, Megan and Prescribe Nutrition as they “Get Balanced” in April with a special discount for Easyread families.  This program is based on that “tired but wired” state so many of us live in.  Here’s a little teaser.  Stay tuned for another visit from Prescribe Nutrition & more on this awesome program to reset and rebalance some of the most important of the bodies hormones!