Nutrition Corner: How to stay on track duing times of high stress

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School has started.

Parents may be picking up where they left off last school year, working with their children to learn virtually. Or they may be stressing each day waiting for their child to return home.

Either way, parents of any aged children may be feeling stressed.

Stress is both a physical and emotional reaction to what is happening. It is a normal feeling. Longterm stress, however, may worsen health problems. Stress may be continuing to be a part of your day.

Here are some tips to help manage stress:

• Treat your body right. We need to eat a healthy diet to get the right amount of nutrients, especially B vitamins and antioxidants. A healthy diet includes two and one-half cups of vegetables, two cups of fruits, three servings of whole grains every day and two servings of dairy every day. B vitamins help the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. They also help form red blood cells. You can get B vitamins from proteins such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy products. Leafy green vegetables, beans and peas also have B vitamins. Many cereals and some breads have added B vitamins. Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements. Examples of antioxidants include Beta-carotene, Lutein, Lycopene, Selenium, Vitamin A, C and E.

• Get good sleep. The Center for Disease Control recommends for good sleep to be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends. Eat earlier in the day. Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Keep phones and the television away from the sleeping area. Increase your activity on a regular basis. School aged children age 6 through 12 years old need nine to 12 hours per day. Ages 13 through 18 years need eight to 10 hours.

• Use relaxation techniques to release tension. Relaxation techniques often combine breathing and focused attention on pleasing thoughts and images to calm the mind and the body. Mind and body practices, such as meditation and yoga, may also be relaxing techniques for you.

• Choose one small change to make. Choosing more may cause more stress. Know that there may be a day when things do not go your way. If you are finding that you are overwhelmed by stress, consider contacting your healthcare provider.

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Here is a recipe which includes whole grains and vegetables that are in season. Tomatoes, peppers, and the whole grain, bulgur all give antioxidants and B vitamins. Make this easy cold salad for lunch, a side dish for dinner or a snack. Enjoy!

Tabbouleh

• 1 cup cooked bulgur

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 cup chopped parsley

• ¼ cup chopped mint (optional)

• 1 medium tomato, diced

• 1 medium pepper, diced

• Salt and pepper to taste

Wash hands. Cook bulgur by following directions on the package or add ½ cup uncooked bulgur to 1 cup of water or low sodium chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 – 12 minutes. Combine the warm cooked bulgur, lemon juice, and garlic and chill for 30 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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