Back to School | the ayurveda way

It’s back-to-school and we are preparing this week by getting into a good sleep/wake routine while still trying to enjoy as much of what is left of the Summer☀️season. As a mom, having healthy, feel-good snacks on hand for my kids to choose from is key for a successful week.  I carve out time on the weekend to meal plan and make snacks that taste great, are fun to eat, and are good for their mind and body.  Below you’ll find a few of my kiddos’ favorites along with my family wellness tips to boost everyone’s immunity and ways to improve your daily rhythm!

 

DAILY AYURVEDIC RHYTHM

In Ayurveda, FOOD + SLEEP are two of the 3 pillars of good health. SEX is the third and we’ll save that one for later! Getting kids excited about FOOD + SLEEP isn’t always easy. But, I have a few simple tips I’d love to share.

FOOD

  • Skip the “clean your plate club” living an ayurvedic lifestyle means eating with intuition. When my kids say, “I’m full” and they still have food on their plate, I respond kindly by saying, “oh good, I hope your belly is happy”. This will allow time for your little one to ask himself, “mmmm…is my belly happy?” Let them make a choice.

 

  • Cook with your kids encourage your kids to be involved with meal planning, prepping, gardening, and cooking. This will allow them to use their senses; touch, taste, identify colors, and aromas, and expand their food likes, memory, and awareness of where their food comes from, and creates an appreciation of ‘food as medicine’.  The more variety of foods and spices we have the better our gut microbiome, the less picky eaters we have, and the less we crave sugary foods. Even if you’re not an avid gardener or chef, make it simple. Grab a cookbook and ask your kiddos to flag a recipe that looks good and talk about what ingredients you’ll need at the store. You don’t have to have an acre of land to get your littles involved with gardening. Buy a few pots and fill them with herbs and when its time to cook, ask them to cut a few stems for your recipes. Remember, keep it simple and little action goes a long way.

 

  • We don’t make any food, “bad” food. I never want my kids to feel guilty for eating something that I would prefer they don’t. When they were toddlers, I said, “go food, before whoa food”.  Now that they are older, they understand the difference and naturally choose “whoa” food in moderation. Don’t be afraid to talk openly with your kids about ingredients on packages, reading labels, and how what they eat makes them feel. I recently taught my 12-year-old how to read ingredients on the label. If the list of ingredients is really long, no need to keep reading it, put it back. If it’s a short list of ingredients, great! Now, do you understand what each ingredient is? If yes, awesome! What’s the first ingredient on the list? It’s the most important. This has sparked some really fun and meaningful conversations with my son.

 

  • Eat together at the table, not in front of the t.v., in the car, or standing up. Even just one meal together a day strengthens your bond, allows you to observe their likes and dislikes, and have conversations about the benefits of the meal. I love to talk about the importance of spices or just learning how their day went!  In Ayurveda, we call this, eating in a sattvic environment, without turbulence! By doing so, you’ll have better digestion and are less likely to overeat or reach for snacks later!

 

SLEEP
10-12 hours of sleep is recommended for kids and is one of the most critical aspects of a child’s health. Let’s face it, adults lack quantity and quality which is one of the main reasons for hormonal and nervous system imbalances, mood disorders, improper digestion, skin challenges, and the list goes on!

I recommend working backwards. If you know you need to be out the door for example by 7:30 am, and it takes 90 minutes to do my morning routine, then I know I need to be asleep between 9:00-10:00 pm. I use my bedtime reminder on my iPhone and at 9:00 pm it reminds me that it’s time to unplug and get to bed. Add a few hours to this for your kiddos and their immune systems will be stronger and their brains smarter!

What does a healthy bedtime routine look like for you? For us, it’s cleansing the body, face, and teeth and then snuggling in bed for 20 minutes while reading and 1-2 things we are grateful for.  Find what works for you and your family and stick to it!

 

IMMUNITY BOOST
Many of my clients and friends ask what I do to keep our kid’s immunity strong. Our regimen is simple and is something we have done since they were born, way before COVID. I’m going to brag for a minute, my kids rarely are sick and I contribute that to this regime, eating well and having good sleep habits. Are we perfect, absolutely not! But as I say, it’s not what you’re doing some of the time, it’s what you’re doing the majority of the time.

On a daily basis, from August – March, everyone in our home takes a spoonful of Chyawanprash which is an ayurvedic herbal jelly to support building vitality and immunity. We also take about a TBSP of SimpleVeda Elderberry Syrup which is packed with vitamin C, virus prevention, and digestive supporting herbs along with our backyard honey. In the syrup, I drop a couple of drops (refer to your brand/label) of a liquid vitamin D which is great for preventing colds, flus, and it really gives your immunity a boost. Once or twice a week, I add a few drops of liquid zinc to the elderberry mix. Zinc is an important trace mineral that we need in small amounts for immunity and to overcome a cold or flu.

Stop by our apothecary for your Chyavanprash and Elderberry Elixer and begin your daily immune-boosting regimen!

 

FAVORITE KIDS RECIPES!

 

STEWED SPICED FRUIT
Ayurveda considers stewed fruit a golden food. Apples and pears are easy to digest and help to build ojas or radiance. Most sweet juicy fruits are excellent cleansers and apples are a pre-biotic – this is a great snack to come home to!  GET RECIPE HERE

COCONUT ENERGY BITES
Most snacks are processed, packaged, contain a lot of questionable ingredients, and are often dry and light – vata aggravating. These are packed with flavor that my kids love and that doesn’t aggravate their tummies! GET RECIPE HERE

NO-BAKE B-BITES
We all seem to be more on the go these days. When you need that mid-day energy boost, rather than another cup of joe, consider a less rajasic option with these perfects sized protein bites! Rolling these energy balls one-by-one is a great meditative practice too! GET RECIPE HERE

SPICED STUFFED DATES
By choosing ojas increasing foods like dates and almonds, you will create that sparkle in your eyes and radiant, glowing skin.  Bonus: tastes great and you’re strengthening your immunity! GET RECIPE HERE

CARDAMOM ROSE OATMEAL COOKIES
Who doesn’t love rose and cardamom? These are delicious cookies that contain ayurvedic properties surely to hit the sweet spot.  Can I get an AMEN? GET RECIPE HERE

 

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