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Empowering Back-to-School Nutrition: 25 Practical Strategies for Optimal Brain Function

Updated: Dec 7, 2023


Title: Nurturing Optimal Brain Health and Wellness: Unraveling the Effects of Processed Food, School Lunches, and Sugar


Introduction: At Michelle's Luxury Hair and Wellness, we embark on a journey to unravel the intricate tapestry woven by nutrition and its profound impact on cognitive function and physical well-being. In an era where the consumption of processed food, school lunches, and excessive sugar has become the norm, we delve into the intricate consequences of these dietary choices on children's cognitive vitality and physical health. This discourse delves into the cascade of effects brought about by these dietary patterns and shares Michelle's personal narrative – the driving force behind her journey to become a dedicated Naturopath Practitioner, Health Specialist and Master Nutritionist. Additionally, we present an array of 25 practical strategies and meals for nourishing children throughout the school year, ensuring their brain functions optimally, enabling them to focus, retain information, and flourish both inside and outside the classroom.


The Complex Interplay: Processed Food, School Lunches, Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Sugar: Processed food, laden with additives, preservatives, and refined sugars, exerts a subtle yet impactful influence on both mind and body. Consider the following ramifications:

  • Cognitive Impact: Refined sugars and additives can erode memory, hinder attention, and compromise cognitive faculties.

  • Behavioral Implications: The correlation between artificial colorants, excessive sugar, and hyperactivity or behavioral irregularities is extensively documented.

  • Inflammation's Silent Aggressor: The consumption of processed foods fuels systemic inflammation, which detrimentally affects cerebral health, Cerebral Allergic Reaction and overall wellness, causing ADD, ADHD, and even Terret symtoms.


Michelle's Transformative Journey: A Tale of Empowerment

Michelle's personal journey as a dedicated single parent faced with the unique dietary needs of her selective eaters, who grappled with conditions such as Sensory Integration Disorder, Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia, has propelled her towards an inspiring transformation. As she navigated the challenges of raising her children and striving to make ends meet, Michelle's unwavering commitment to their well-being became the driving force behind a remarkable transformation.

The experience of aggressiveness at home towards Michelle, and her oldest daughter, and receiving distressing phone calls three to four times a week from school due to her child's struggle to remain composed or attending countless meetings to address attention and comprehension issues, brought to light the challenges that her children were facing. The difficulties encompassed sensitivities to lights and sounds, heightened by noises as seemingly benign as pencils scratching on paper, as well as persistent stomach troubles, unexplained joint pains, and disruptive sleep patterns. Amidst these complexities, her children's insatiable cravings for sugar and starches seemed to further complicate matters. However, it was precisely these challenges that ignited Michelle's transformative pursuit even further in her education.

Michelle's determined efforts revolved around the recalibration of her children's dietary choices, the introduction of targeted supplements, and the cultivation of holistic nutritional habits. Through this meticulous approach, Michelle bore witness to a remarkable metamorphosis in her children's well-being and overall demeanor. This transformation served as the catalyst that solidified Michelle's vocation as a Health Specialist, Master Nutritionist, Naturopath Practitioner, and NLP Coach.

Michelle diligently raised her children on a diet centered around sugar-free, minimally processed, and predominantly gluten-free foods from a very young age. However, even with these careful considerations, there were nuances that might not have been immediately apparent. For instance, while oatmeal, excessive rice consumption, and gluten-free breads, and children's vitamins seemed like healthy choices, they inadvertently had an impact. Additionally, factors such as school lunches, an overindulgence in peanut butter and chocolate, as well as the dynamics of attending friend's gatherings and school parties, all played a role in triggering his conditions.


In the case of my son, these seemingly innocuous elements, like oatmeal and an excess of brown rice, and gluten free products inadvertently contributed to the challenges he faced. Similarly, indulging in gluten-free breads, coupled with the social aspects of school lunches and treats, unknowingly intensified his struggles. This intricate interplay between diet and well-being became increasingly apparent as he grappled with the manifestations of his ADD, ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder, and other conditions.

One of the more distressing outcomes of these triggers was his aggressive behavior, characterized by violent outbursts, heated arguments, and even physical altercations. The complex nature of his conditions, particularly sensory integration disorder or SID, further compounded the situation, leading to disruptive outbursts within the school environment. This distressing cycle often resulted in numerous calls from the school, three to four times a week, to sometimes multiple times a day, to help quell these episodes and restore a sense of calm.

Moreover, the repercussions extended to his physical well-being, as instances of vomiting became a recurring concern. These unexpected reactions further highlighted the intricate connection between dietary choices and his overall health. It was in navigating these challenges that Michelle's deep understanding of her children's dietary needs and sensitivities truly came to the forefront.


The journey of nurturing her children's health and well-being became a testament to Michelle's dedication and perseverance. While her commitment to a health-conscious lifestyle was evident from the outset, the unforeseen triggers underscored the importance of not only the broader dietary choices but also the finer details that could impact her children's conditions. This profound insight led her to adopt an even more comprehensive and holistic approach to their nutritional needs.

In retrospect, Michelle's journey serves as a poignant reminder that even the seemingly healthy dietary choices can have unforeseen effects on those with unique sensitivities. Through her story, we are reminded of the significance of a well-rounded approach to nutrition, one that takes into account both the obvious and nuanced elements that contribute to our overall health and well-being Navigating the transition from a diet centered around carbs foods to one characterized by wholesome nourishment requires patience and perseverance, especially when dealing with children who have developed picky eating habits.

Drawing from her firsthand experience as a parent to children with intricate conditions, Michelle has raised two children affected by Sensory Integration disorder, Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia. Her journey of transformation commenced as one of commitment, driven by her children's cravings for sugar and starchy foods, which often posed a considerable challenge.

In the early stages of this journey with her son, the allure of starchy foods was so overpowering that maintaining such items in the household became a struggle, as they would mysteriously vanish overnight. This challenge was further intensified by her child's aversion to consuming meat, preferring instead a diet centered around oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, and corn. A similar narrative unfolded with her daughter, favoring meat over vegetables and occasionally indulging in less-than-ideal snacks at her dad's house. Recognizing the necessity for change, Michelle embarked on a quest to realign her children's dietary choices.

A pivotal juncture in this transformative odyssey was the adoption of a comprehensive strategy involving detoxing, resetting their systems, and adopting dietary adjustments and the strategic integration of a range of supplements. Through unwavering dedication and perseverance, gradual shifts in taste preferences were observed. Over the course of several months, the relentless cravings for sugary and processed foods waned, leading to a profound transformation in their dietary inclinations. This experience reinforced Michelle's conviction that while navigating the transition to a healthier diet might initially present challenges, adhering to steadfast boundaries remains essential for the overall health and well-being of children. She committed to making the time to prepare healthy balanced meals and researched and tested ways to make it work for her and her family. It did come with challenges from the kids not wanting leftovers, but her and the children came up with ways to compromise and make it work.

The rewards reaped from witnessing the positive outcomes of these modifications were undeniably gratifying. No longer burdened by disruptions at school or struggling with sensory overstimulation, Michelle's child demonstrated improved behavior and enhanced academic performance. This transformation was accompanied by heightened self-assurance, achieved without the need for medications. As a parent who has traversed this arduous journey, Michelle's empathetic understanding extends to the moments of doubt and exhaustion that may punctuate the path. Her journey is a testament to the resilience required to persevere, particularly as a single parent shouldering these responsibilities alone.

The allure of medications to alleviate challenges, while tempting, was counterbalanced by Michelle's steadfast commitment to holistic well-being. A critical turning point was the diagnosis her child received at the age of nine, a diagnosis that shed light on their complex conditions and paved the way for a targeted approach to holistic healing. Michelle embarked on a journey of academic advancement, pursuing her Doctorate in Naturopathy, which became a lifeline for her child's well-being.

As she emerged from this transformational experience, Michelle's journey is a poignant reminder of the transformative power of dedication to cultivating a nourishing diet. She advocates for the active involvement of children in the dietary decision-making process, nurturing their understanding of the profound connection between food choices and overall well-being. By engaging them in the process of cause and effect, writing in diaries about it, writing about their day in school and write if they had any issues, disruptions, stomach aches, and write what they ate the day before and that day. They also started reading labels and fostering an appreciation for healthier options, children are equipped to actively shape their dietary preferences.


It is Michelle's unwavering belief that through education, resilience, and compassionate guidance, families can surmount the allure of processed foods and embark on a trajectory of sustained health. By instilling healthy habits from an early age, children are empowered to make choices that optimize their cognitive function and overall well-being. Through this narrative of transformation, Michelle imparts a message of hope to those navigating similar journeys. With steadfast determination, the support of a compassionate community, and a commitment to nurturing health, the path towards a healthier Michelle diligently raised her children on a diet centered around sugar-free, minimally processed, and predominantly gluten-free foods from a very young age. However, even with these careful considerations, there were nuances that might not have been immediately apparent. For instance, while oatmeal, excessive rice consumption, and gluten-free breads seemed like healthy choices, they inadvertently had an impact. Additionally, factors such as school lunches, an overindulgence in peanut butter and chocolate, as well as the dynamics of attending friend's gatherings and school parties, all played a role in triggering his conditions.


In the case of my son, these seemingly innocuous elements, like oatmeal and an excess of rice, inadvertently contributed to the challenges he faced. Similarly, indulging in gluten-free breads, coupled with the social aspects of school lunches and treats, unknowingly intensified his struggles. This intricate interplay between diet and well-being became increasingly apparent as he grappled with the manifestations of his ADD, ADHD, and other conditions.

One of the more distressing outcomes of these triggers was his aggressive behavior, characterized by violent outbursts, heated arguments, and even physical altercations. The complex nature of his conditions, particularly Autism, further compounded the situation, leading to disruptive outbursts within the school environment. This distressing cycle often resulted in numerous calls from the school, sometimes multiple times a day, to help quell these episodes and restore a sense of calm.

Moreover, the repercussions extended to his physical well-being, as instances of vomiting became a recurring concern. These unexpected reactions further highlighted the intricate connection between dietary choices and his overall health. It was in navigating these challenges that Michelle's deep understanding of her children's dietary needs and sensitivities truly came to the forefront.

The journey of nurturing her children's health and well-being became a testament to Michelle's dedication and perseverance. While her commitment to a health-conscious lifestyle was evident from the outset, the unforeseen triggers underscored the importance of not only the broader dietary choices but also the finer details that could impact her children's conditions. This profound insight led her to adopt an even more comprehensive and holistic approach to their nutritional needs.

In retrospect, Michelle's journey serves as a poignant reminder that even the seemingly healthy dietary choices can have unforeseen effects on those with unique sensitivities. Through her story, we are reminded of the significance of a well-rounded approach to nutrition, one that takes into account both the obvious and nuanced elements that contribute to our overall health and well-being, positive, confident and more fulfilling lifestyle can be illuminated for everyone.

Cultivating Holistic Well-being for the Academic Season:

  1. Informed Decision-Making: Draw insights from esteemed institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics to bolster informed nutritional choices.

  2. Wholesome Nutrition: Prioritize whole foods encompassing lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and unrefined grains to nourish the mind and body.

  3. Elevating Omega-3 Intake: Inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids from sources like chia seeds and salmon supports cognitive well-being.

  4. Hydration's Role: Adequate hydration is pivotal for optimal brain function and sustained energy levels.

  5. Smart Snacking: Opt for nutrient-dense snacks to carry with you at all times, like hummus with vegetables, jerky, and unsalted nuts to maintain energy equilibrium.

  6. Culinary Ingenuity with Instant Pots and Slow Cookers: Streamline meal preparation through the use of instant pots and slow cookers, ensuring a bounty of nutritious meals.

  7. Artful Bento Boxes: Craft well-rounded, visually appealing lunches encapsulated in Bento boxes, maintaining ideal temperatures.

  8. Mindful Gluten and Dairy Exclusion: Omit gluten and dairy, known to induce inflammation and sluggishness, in favor of gluten-free pasta, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and vegetables.

  9. Transitioning with Tact: For picky eaters, embark on a gradual transition by progressively introducing new foods, reducing resistance, and eliminate old ones.

  10. Selective Supplementation: Seek professional guidance for brain-boosting supplements such as Vitamin B Complex, B-12, and L-Glutamine.

The Complex Nexus of Processed Foods and Sugar:

  1. Mind-Body Nexus: The allure of processed foods parallels that of substances, initiating neurobiological reactions akin to addiction. (Drugs like sugar, hormones, antibiotics, etc.)

  2. Nurturing Nutritional Equilibrium: Infuse children with essential nutrients through pharmaceutical-grade vitamins, including Vitamin B Complex and B-12 and more.

  3. Strategic Supplementation: Reinforce brain health with supplementary essentials like L-Glutamine and pharmaceutical-grade Vitamin B Complex and B-12 to mitigate daily stressors.

  4. Dilemma of Gummy Supplements: Refrain from gummy supplements laden with extraneous sugars, stevia, monk fruit, or sugar alcohols. -Gummies of any kind are laden with some sort of sugar, dropping the immune system and deplete the vitamins, causing havoc on the stomach, and cause sensitivity to kids. Causing cerebral allergic reactions. Opt for powder without any added sugars and place in a smoothy in the morning or glass of water with lemon juices.

  5. Gastrointestinal Harmony and Cognitive Unity: Elucidate the intrinsic connection between the brain and gastrointestinal system, underscoring the importance of prudent dietary choices to avert manifestations of ADD and ADHD.

  • The intricate connection between nutrition, the brain, and the gut highlights a profound interplay that significantly influences overall well-being. This symbiotic relationship, often referred to as the "gut-brain axis," underscores the bidirectional communication between the central nervous system (CNS) and the gastrointestinal tract. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in shaping this connection. The gut, encompassing the digestive organs and the vast community of microorganisms residing within, is responsible for processing and absorbing nutrients from the foods we consume. These nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, provide the essential building blocks for optimal brain function and overall health.

Specifically, the gut is home to a myriad of microorganisms known as the gut microbiota. These microorganisms play a crucial role in breaking down complex molecules, aiding digestion, and producing various compounds that influence brain health. Additionally, the gut microbiota interacts with the immune system, modulating inflammation and contributing to a balanced immune response.

Furthermore, the gut produces neurotransmitters and hormones that have a direct impact on mood, emotions, and cognitive function. For instance, around 90% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation, is produced in the gut. This illustrates the profound influence of gut health on emotional well-being.

Conversely, the brain exerts control over the gut through the autonomic nervous system, impacting functions like digestion and gut motility. Stress and emotions can trigger physiological responses in the gut, often leading to symptoms such as gastrointestinal discomfort.

In the context of conditions like ADD and ADHD, maintaining a balanced and nourishing diet is paramount. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (particularly B vitamins), minerals (like magnesium and zinc), and antioxidants, have been shown to support brain health and cognitive function. By incorporating these nutrients into one's diet, individuals may experience improved focus, attention, and mood regulation.

On the flip side, diets high in processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats can negatively impact gut health, disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, and contribute to systemic inflammation. Such inflammation has been implicated in various cognitive and mental health disorders.

In summary, the connection between nutrition, the brain, and the gut is intricate and multifaceted. Thoughtful dietary choices that prioritize nutrient-dense, whole foods not only nourish the body but also contribute to a harmonious gut-brain axis. This interconnectedness underscores the importance of fostering a healthy gut environment to support cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall vitality.


5. The Power of Nutritional Choices: Elaborate on the profound consequences of nourishment decisions, where a potent intellect may succumb to suboptimal alimentary choices, including school lunches, fast food, and processed consumables.


Conclusion: Investing in Holistic Nurturing for Lifelong Returns:

As caretakers, guardians, and mentors, we hold the power to shape the achievements and health of future generations through informed dietary selections. The repercussions of processed foods, school lunches, and sugar on cognitive function and physiological equilibrium are profound. Michelle's personal voyage stands as a testament to the transformative potential embedded in a holistic approach to well-being. Foster an environment where children grasp the cause-and-effect of their dietary preferences, engage joyfully in exploring nourishing recipes, scrutinizing food labels, and comprehending the intricate connection between intake and outcome. The time devoted to nurturing children's well-being will yield invaluable dividends in the present and the future, both for the childs cofindence, self-esteem, and as you as a parent in your wallet and in your time and energy.

Research References:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • Nutrition Reviews

  • Journal of Nutrition

  • Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

  • Frontiers in Psychology

About the Author: Michelle Everroad has been a nutritionist for 25 years and NLP Life Coach, she is a certified Health Specialist, Certified Master Nutritionist, Naturopath Practitioner, and NLP, and Energy Coach. Her journey has encompassed detoxifying individuals of all ages from metals, chemicals, and detrimental dietary practices. Through her practice, she has empowered countless individuals to embrace improved diets, lifestyles, and enhanced overall health. For personalized consultations, both online and in her salon, visit www.MichellesLuxurySalon.com or contact 214-850-9925




25 healthy, easy-prep meals and recipes Here are 25 healthy, easy-prep meals and recipes that you can make with your kids using casseroles, instant pots, slow cookers, or large quantities. These meals are free from additives, preservatives, gluten, dairy, and sugar. They include healthy fats for brain health and can be conveniently refrigerated or frozen for school lunches, dinners, and snacks. I've also provided a basic grocery list to help you get started.

Breakfast Ideas:

  1. Overnight Oats: Combine oats, dairy-free milk, chia seeds, and berries. Let it sit in the fridge overnight.

  2. Egg and Veggie Casserole: Whisk eggs with diced veggies and bake in a casserole dish.

  3. Sweet Potato Hash: Sauté diced sweet potatoes with bell peppers, onions, and your choice of protein.

  4. Fruit and Nut Smoothie: Mix dairy-free Milk, Brown Rice protein, with mixed berries, layer chopped nuts, or hemp hearts on top, and a drizzle of honey (optional).

  5. Frittata: Mix eggs with cooked bacon, spinach, and dairy-free cheese, and Red potatoes and or sweet potatoes. Bake in a casserole dish.

Lunch and Dinner Ideas:

  1. Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry: Cook diced chicken and mixed veggies in a skillet with coconut aminos.

  2. Quinoa Salad: Toss cooked quinoa with diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

  3. Chili: Make a hearty chili using ground turkey, beans, tomatoes, and spices in a slow cooker.

  4. Coconut Curry: Cook your choice of protein with mixed veggies in a flavorful coconut curry sauce.

  5. Lentil Stew: Combine lentils, carrots, celery, and vegetable broth in a slow cooker.

Casserole Ideas:

  1. Shepherd's Pie: Layer cooked ground beef, mashed cauliflower, and mixed veggies in a casserole dish.

  2. Mexican Casserole: Mix cooked quinoa, black beans, diced tomatoes, and ground turkey. Top with dairy-free cheese and bake.

  3. Eggplant Lasagna: Use thinly sliced eggplant as lasagna layers with marinara sauce and dairy-free cheese.

  4. Broccoli and Chicken Casserole: Combine cooked chicken, steamed broccoli, and dairy-free cream sauce.

  5. Zucchini Noodle Bake: Layer zucchini noodles, marinara sauce, and ground beef in a casserole dish.

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Ideas:

  1. Pulled Pork: Slow cook pork with a sugar-free BBQ sauce until it's tender and easily pulled apart.

  2. Chicken Soup: Make a comforting chicken soup by slow cooking chicken, veggies, and broth.

  3. Beef Stew: Use your slow cooker to simmer beef chunks with potatoes, carrots, and onions.

  4. Turkey Meatballs: Cook turkey meatballs in tomato sauce using the slow cooker.

  5. Butternut Squash Soup: Blend cooked butternut squash with coconut milk, broth, and seasonings.

Snack Ideas:

  1. Trail Mix: Combine mixed nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for a satisfying and portable snack.

  2. Veggie Sticks with Hummus: Slice veggies like carrots, celery, and bell peppers and serve with dairy-free hummus.

  3. Roasted Chickpeas: Toss chickpeas with olive oil and your favorite spices, then roast until crispy.

  4. Guacamole with Veggie Chips: Make guacamole and pair with sliced cucumber and carrot chips.

  5. Homemade Energy Balls: Blend dates, nuts, and cocoa powder to form energy balls for a quick snack.

Basic Grocery List:

(Use organic, farm raised, and grass fed)

  • Oats (Organic)

  • Dairy-free milk (Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Goat Milk, )

  • Chia seeds

  • Eggs (organic free Range)

  • Veggies (bell peppers, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.)

  • Berries (mixed berries, strawberries) Fruit is only for mornings, can be eaten with mixed nuts but never after eating regular food ever, or mixed in with regular food.

  • Protein (bacon, diced chicken, ground turkey, ground beef)

  • Nuts (chopped nuts, mixed nuts)

  • Honey (optional) Local honey only -1 tablespoon a day is equivalent to allergie shots

  • Quinoa

  • Coconut aminos

  • Beans (black beans, lentils)

  • Tomatoes (diced tomatoes, marinara sauce)

  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley)

  • Cauliflower

  • Lentils

  • Vegetable broth

  • Eggplant

  • Zucchini

  • Butternut squash

  • Mixed nuts and seeds (for trail mix)

  • Hummus

  • Chickpeas

  • Avocado

  • Dates

  • Cocoa powder

  • Hemp hearts

  • Brown Rice Protein https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/everroadsholisticlifestylesupplements/signup

These meals can be adapted based on your family's preferences and dietary needs. Preparing these healthy meals with your kids can be a fun and educational experience. Enjoy and most of all have quality time with your kids and remember to have fun while you're cooking and giving loving energy to their nourishing meals! Your kids will feel the love from the food and will be anchored to them for life.

Stay tuned for delicious recipes Michelle's and her kids did and still do for healthy deserts for the holidays and birthdays.



Michelle E.

Owner/ Nutritionist/ N.P

214-850-9925

Address

Inside Mattison Avenue Salon Suites and Spa

1100 Cottonwood Creek, suite 110 Room 119

Highland Village, TX 7077













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