HOMESCHOOLING AND NUTRITION

2010/06/09
Published

HOMESCHOOLING AND NUTRITION

Healthy snacking for homeschooling and children of all ages, especially those with learning disabilities, is a major concern for all of us, but it is even more important for children coping with ADD, ADHD and those on the autism spectrum of disorders. The purpose of healthy snacking is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. As blood sugar dips, our brain begins to fatigue and attention will lag and aggression and frustration increase. This can be especially challenging for the homeschooling parent. Everyone can benefit from the guidelines in this article from those homeschooling their children to those suffering from chronic fatigue, all inflammatory conditions such as eczema, irritable bowel disorders, asthma, and allergies of any type because healthy blood sugar metabolism is essential to a healthy immune system and brain function!

Blood sugar can be low for a few reasons:

1)      Skipping breakfast

2)      Eating a high sugar, high carbohydrate breakfast or snack

3)      Having insulin resistance, syndrome X

4)      Having metabolic problems with sugar metabolism

5)      Having immune sensitivities to foods eaten regularly

Skipping breakfast

Skipping breakfast is bad for anyone but is especially bad for growing young bodies. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is made by the body generally within the first two hours of waking up. Therefore, skipping breakfast can cause lower serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin helps to calm us, and quite a bit of irritability, moodiness and weepiness can be traced to low levels of serotonin, especially in young teenage girls. Females are more susceptible to low serotonin levels than males.

Skipping breakfast will cause our blood sugar levels to dip, and cause the brain to become deficient in the absorption of glucose its cells need to run in peak performance. Low blood sugar in the body or brain causes the nervous system to be edgy, jittery, and distracted as the body’s focus is on obtaining nutrition not learning!

High carbohydrate breakfast or snacks

Carbohydrate foods are those that contain processed grains, oats, quinoa, spelt, barley, potato, rice, and fruit. When you eat carbohydrates without the presence of protein in the diet, the carbohydrates are quickly converted to sugar and blood sugar can spike. Spikes in blood sugar cause the immediate release of insulin. If excessive insulin is released because of the excessive spike in sugars in the digestive tract, the cells of the body can become “numb” and ignore the effect of insulin in allowing the sugar to enter the cells. This is the mechanism of insulin resistance. What results is an inability to use the carbohydrates we do eat, we crave more carbohydrates as a result, and we gain weight. Fat and tired bodies result with the development of a host of metabolic and immune disorders over time.

Does your child crave carbohydrates of any type and how much? Giving in to these cravings will make your child worse metabolically. Controlling one’s blood sugar by increasing the protein in their diet is crucial. If you cannot severely restrict the amount of carbohydrate consumed by your child you absolutely need to add more protein with their meal. Try to reduce the ratio of carbohydrate to protein to 1:1. For those homeschooling, having the kitchen always available can be a great temptation, however, if you have a game plan as to what to serve your child and when, then the kitchen will not be a constant source of temptation or distraction to your child.

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan