At KVC Hospitals, we provide a wide range of therapeutic and educational services to equip youth with tools and life skills that help them care for their mental and physical health. KVC Hospitals’ Dietician, Ms. Megan, teaches youth about nutrition and food safety and how what they eat impacts their body and mind. Watch this video from Megan to learn how to make her favorite homemade granola recipe. Keep reading below for more information about how nutrition impacts children’s mental health and to get the recipe for this tasty snack.
How Nutrition Affects Mental Health:
We all know that nutrition is a big part of our physical health. But, did you know it’s also important for mental health? Throughout a child’s life, having a nutritious diet is key to healthy brain development. Children and teens who eat regularly throughout the day are shown to have better attention spans. If a child or teen skips a meal, they are more likely to be irritable, restless and tired.
Additionally, teaching your child how to cook is a great way to bond over a fun activity, teach a valuable life skill, and give them a sense of control and independence. Start with this simple granola recipe and increase your skill level from there!
Tips for Staying Healthy in the Kitchen:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water before you begin touching your food or kitchen utensils.
- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before use.
- Have a regular meal/snack schedule. Consistency and predictability are helpful during unpredictable times and can help youth feel more at ease.
- Planning meals/snacks ahead of time can help minimize trips to the grocery store.
- Involve kids in planning meals/snacks as well as the preparation. If you have picky eaters, kids who help choose and prepare meals are more likely to accept them.
- Try to include all of the food groups in each meal when possible – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein. See the USDA MyPlate website (www.choosemyplate.gov) for more guidance and activities.
- Stay away from sugar-sweetened beverages, soda and fruit juices. Choose whole fruits instead.
- Keep fast food and takeout to a minimum.
- Encourage kids to get at least 1 hour of exercise daily.
When adults model these behaviors and participate in physical activities, youth are more likely to follow their example. For more information about nutrition, food safety, and resources to help your family stay healthy, visit www.eatright.org. This site also provides fun activities, coloring pages, and other ideas to help you entertain and educate kids.
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups nuts (any combination of almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, etc.)
- 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 250°.
- In a bowl or saucepan, combine the maple syrup, vegetable oil, salt and brown sugar. Heat lightly on the stove or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until the brown sugar has dissolved.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and coconut.
- Combine the two mixtures thoroughly. Place on a greased sheet tray or a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Allow to cool.
- Add the raisins and stir to mix.
About KVC Hospitals
If you know a child between ages 6 to 18 who is struggling with their mental health or experiencing behavioral challenges, KVC Hospitals can help. We are accepting new clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have worked diligently to expand our capacity with 92 new treatment beds allowing us to serve more Kansas and Missouri youth in need. For more information, call our Admissions team at (913) 890-7468, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or learn more at www.kvchospitals.org.