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Fresh ideas for a healthy school year


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Updated: 12/13/2012 11:27 am Published: 9/12/2012 1:45 pm


(BPT) - For students, teachers and parents alike, a new school year means busy schedules full of sports practices, homework and after-school activities. Despite hectic mornings and jam-packed afternoons, making sure children are getting proper nutrition, rest and exercise is extremely important to their success. For a healthy and happy school year, use a few tips to keep your student at the head of the class.

Blend in nutrition
There's a good chance your young student would prefer a candy bar over an apple, but with a little help, you can make sure your kids get the nutrition they need in a tasty way. A whole-fruit smoothie, such as the Vitamix Peach Cobbler Smoothie, will keep your child refreshed and energized without the refined sugar and preservatives found in many store-bought snacks. Even convenience is no longer an excuse to choose less healthy, packaged options. Simply toss the whole-fruit ingredients into your Vitamix 7500 machine, add ice, and in seconds you'll have a delicious nutrient-packed, on-the-go treat. Vitamix offers hundreds of recipes for fruit smoothies and other healthy snack options, so your student is sure to find a flavorful combination he or she likes. For extra convenience, make a large batch of your family's favorite recipes and freeze in individual containers for easy grab-and-go options. With the right nutrients and vitamins, kids will be able to stay focused and conquer even the toughest of days.

Rest up
Without enough sleep, focusing on math and spelling can be nearly impossible. Students need to be well-rested and mentally alert to learn, and sleep deprivation will prevent them from fully absorbing new information. To help your scholar stay awake and ready to learn throughout the day, encourage a routine that allows for adequate rest. Younger children need more sleep, and the average elementary student requires about nine to 10 hours each night. Getting into a nightly routine will help your child adapt to a regular sleep schedule, which should begin with turning off television and computer screens 30 minutes before bedtime. It is also important to create a relaxing environment, so make sure that the room is dark, cool and quiet, and your child is sleeping on a comfortable, supportive mattress. After 15 to 30 minutes of a light activity, such as reading, your child will enjoy a restful night and productive next day.

Move it
With childhood obesity at an all-time high, initiatives nationwide are focused on making sure kids get sufficient amounts of exercise each day. Encourage your student to try a new sport this school year or join an after-school exercise class. Kids who prefer not to join in organized activities can enjoy a number of toys, including roller skates, bicycles, kick balls and jump ropes, to increase physical activity. To help your children find more active forms of entertainment, limit the amount of time they spend in front of television screens, video games and computers. You can also lead by example and schedule a day of family activity, such as walking, swimming or biking. Spread physical activities throughout each day, and your kids will be on the way to better physical fitness and development.

By making sure your young students get proper nutrition, sleep and exercise each day, you can ensure this school year gets off to a happy, healthy start. For more nutritious recipes students of any age will love, visit www.vitamix.com.

Peach Cobbler Smoothie
Preparation:10 minutes
Processing:40 to 45 seconds
Yield: 4 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients
3/4 cup peach nectar
2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons wheat germ
4 teaspoons rolled oats
2 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices
1 cup ice cubes

Directions
Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Switch machine to Start and slowly increase speed to Variable 10.  Blend for 40 to 45 seconds using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.


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