Optimizing School Performance

Food Matters

  • Food is information that instructs your body how to work
  • At least 5 servings of vegetables daily
  • Focus on Healthy Fats
    • 2015 Dietary Guidelines no longer recommend “low fat diet”.
    • Fish, coconut [oil, milk, butter], olives [oil], nuts [butter, oil]
    • Essential fatty acid (come from diet, body cannot make them) – Increase Omega 3 intake, reduce Omega 6 intake – processed foods heavier in Omega 6
      • Improve health of brain cells and allow greater communication between cells
      • Food sources – range/pasture eggs, grass fed meat, fish
      • Fish Oil – Barlean’s is kid friendly version;
      • Plant version ALA has to be converted to EPA/DHA,but body doesn’t do this well chia seeds; walnuts
    • Eliminate artificial colors and additives, sweeteners, flavors
    • Eat whole foods – Mediterranean diet, anti-inflammatory diet, paleo diet


  • Roller coaster ride – crash after high sugar/simple carb meal. Very hard to focus and pay attention during these crash periods.
  • Have balance of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates
  • Begin looking at labels for added sugar
  • Choose complex carbs over simple carbohydrates

Gut-Brain Connection

  • Direct communication to and from the gut/brain – some via vagus nerve
  • The gut contains a large quantity of microbes – bacteria, viruses, fungi – 3 trillion – These bacteria make neurotransmitters – serotonin, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine
  • Large percentage of serotonin and dopamine [neurotransmitters] are created in the gut then transmitted to other areas of the body, including the brain
  • Eat whole foods, less processed foods
  • Take probiotic; eat probiotic containing foods and drinks

Recommended amount of sleep

  • School age – 9-11 hours
  • Teen – 8-10
  • Should be refreshed when waking
  • memory consolidation [putting items from short term memory to long term memory] – things they learned at school and studying that evening get put into memory bank where it can be brought out later.
  • When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information.

Sleep Hygiene

  • Quality sleep as important as quantity
  • Routine at night
  • Go to bed and wake at same time every day
  • No devices at least 1 hour before bed
  • Calming, quiet activity before bed, lights dim
  • Dark, cool room (no nightlights)
  • No device or TV in room

Manage stress

  • What each child experiences as stress will be different
  • Learn what stresses dealing with – peer relationships, including bullying;
  • Teach them to identify what the perceived threat and how to calm the body and mind
  • Practice 4 square breathing
  • Guided imagery – imagine favorite fun/peaceful place, describe the details – all 5 senses
  • Yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing,

Organization and Time Management

  • This may be challenging as we were not taught these skills – not taught in school.
  • Physical and Mental Clutter decreases focus and attention
  • Discuss and create plan with your child
  • Optimize technology – calendar, tasks, timer, reminder

Just say no…to overscheduling – create balance

  • On the go – all the time.
  • Physical and Mental Clutter decreases focus and attention
  • Discuss and create plan with your child
  • Optimize technology – calendar, tasks, timer, reminder

Products/Foods we referenced in the webinar:

  • Barlean’s Omega Swirl – available at Wellevate (see our supplements page), Amazon, Earthfare
  • Recipes for Energy Balls
  • Thorne Research – I love the Medipro Vegan Chocolate shake
  • Probiotic containing foods:
    • Kombucha
    • Miso
    • Raw sauerkraut
    • Raw pickles
    • Kimchi
    • Natto
    • tempe
    • Kefir (water and milk)
    • Yogurt (dairy, coconut)

Want to learn more about any of these topics? SEE Alternatives Wellness has online modules to support parents in learning healthy eating, sleep, and time management skills.