Nutritious Meals

If you have growing children in the family, it is very important to have nutritious meals in their diet. Kids need many basic nutrients at this age when their bodies are growing and need a constant supply of vitamins and nutrients. Thus, the five basic nutrients required for a growing body are, proteins, minerals, fats, vitamins, and water. Thus being a parent, your responsibility towards your child is to take care of his/her eating habits and providing them all they need.

Easy Nutritious Meals
Children are very irresponsible when it comes to eating habits. They love to eat the things that they shouldn’t be eating and dislike the healthy ones. If you have a growing child like this, the following list is the best way out of this problem. You can categorize these meals into three for all three meals in the day and also have healthy snacks to accompany them.

For Breakfast
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, make sure, your kids eat all the possible healthy foods needed by their body. Meals for kids should be the most filling and healthy with all the required nutrients and supplements needed.

Whole grain cereal with skim milk and banana slices.

Scrambled eggs made with skim milk and low fat cheese, whole wheat toast, fruit cup.

Granola bar, low-fat yogurt cup, glass of orange juice.

Oatmeal made with skim milk and mixed with raisins and cinnamon.

Banana, peanut butter onto a bagel.

Toasted English muffin topped with one slice Canadian bacon along with a cheese slice, and a fruit cup.

Breakfast burrito made with egg substitute, diced vegetables, low-fat cheese, and salsa wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

Omelet made with egg substitute, vegetables, low-fat cheese.

Fruit cobbler with canned fruit, topped with low-fat granola cereal, and a vanilla yogurt.
For Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and dinner are also important meals. These meals keep you energetic through the day and don’t let our body go weak and also provide glucose.

Vegetarian chili with beans, vegetables, and whole wheat noodles.

Whole wheat pita with hummus, turkey slices, cheese slice, and chopped vegetables.

Vegetable beef soup with whole wheat toast and an apple.

Barbecued baked chicken with steamed vegetables and brown rice.

Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Spaghetti with whole wheat noodles, meat sauce and side salad.

Baked potato topped with steamed broccoli or chili with beans, and low-fat cheese.

Roll up black beans, salsa, and mozzarella cheese in a whole wheat tortilla.

Chicken stir-fry with mixed vegetables and served over brown rice.

Tuna casserole with whole wheat noodles, low-fat cottage cheese, and peas
With these nutritious meals for children, I am sure you won’t find it difficult to figure out what to cook for your kids.

Healthy Foods That Fill You Up

The age-old myth, dieting means depriving yourself of food, has finally been shelved, thanks to the improvisations executed in the dietary programs which now have a lot to offer. These diet programs mainly include healthy foods that fill you up, without putting that burden of extra calories, fats, or cholesterol on you. As a result of this, these foods have become quite popular among several fitness enthusiasts and dietitians alike.

Healthy Foods That Fill You
A balanced diet is the one which provides you with all the necessary nutrients required by your body and at the same time, fills your stomach. For that, these foods need to have a significant amount of fiber, proteins, and water, among other nutrients. The presence of these nutrients helps in satiating the hunger in a healthy way.

Whole Grain

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, flaxseed, barley, and wheat, have numerous essential nutrients, including proteins and fiber, in them. In fact, proteins and fiber, which are found in significant amounts in whole grains, fill you for a longer time. If you eat refined white bread, you won’t crave for food all over again. However, whole wheat bread is bound to keep you filled for a longer period and at the same time, provide you nutrients which are essential for your body.

Eggs

Try to avoid eating egg yolk as it can raise the cholesterol level. Egg whites are rich in various proteins, minerals, and vitamins necessary for your body. The cooking method plays an important role as well. Eating low-fat egg salad or hard-boiled eggs is a wise option. Make sure that you use as little oil as possible when cooking them, as a large amount of fats we consume through fried eggs comes from the oil we use.

Fruits and Vegetables

Majority of the fruits and vegetables we consume are rich in fiber, but the problem is that we are not really keen on eating them, and when we do, the portions are very small. Other than their fiber content, which fills you up, fruits and veggies also contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. More importantly, they have plenty of water content, which tends to add bulk to your meal, thus making and keeping you full for a long time. The nutrient content, especially in vegetables, keeps you healthy, while the fiber keeps you full. The best method is to include fruits and vegetables in your meals, so that you get ample proteins from other foods and fiber from them.

Fish

Various fish, including salmon, tuna, and mackerels, are beneficial to satiate your craving for food. They are rich in healthy fats which add volume to your meals and thus, make you feel full. At the same time, they provide some of the most vital nutrients to the body, including vitamins and omega-3 essential fatty acids. The inclusion of fish in your diet will help you lower the bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in the body, thus ensuring that you never experience heart problems. More importantly, the protein content in these fish takes time to digest, which keeps you full for a longer time.

Nuts

Nuts are indeed high in fats, but these are healthy fats which are beneficial for your body. Like most of the healthy foods that we have been talking about, even nuts are loaded with proteins and fiber content. They also provide antioxidants which help you in fighting harmful free radicals. You can eat them roasted or stir fried. They may be small, but they are power packed with all the essential nutrients.
The best thing about these foods is that they keep you filled for a longer period, thus making sure that you don’t overeat or take to unhealthy fast food. Taking that into consideration, there is no questioning the fact that they deserve a place in your daily meals.

High Energy Foods

If you feel weak and tired all the time, then this may be a cause of insufficient intake of essential nutrients. Include high energy food items in your daily diet and notice the difference.

The role of high energy foods is to provide our body with the much-needed energy required to perform daily activities. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and which are low in sugar, cholesterol and fats act as energy boosters for the body. Complex carbohydrates provide long-lasting energy to the body. Protein not only helps to release energy, but also acts as a back-up energy providers when carbohydrates are not available. Bananas, eggs, and nuts are top energy-boosting foods that can be easily included in the diet. Most of the foods mentioned below provide energy and are also rich sources of vitamins and minerals.

Healthy Energy-boosting Foods

Whole Grains

Being complex carbohydrates, whole grains are the best energy foods for athletes. Moreover, whole grain foods contain high amounts of fiber and antioxidants, and thus, prevent various health problems. Whole grains digest slowly, and therefore, provide you with long-lasting energy levels. E.g.Cereals, whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and pasta.

Legumes

One of the important features of legumes is, they are low in glycemic index and hence are ideal for diabetic patients. They are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. They absorb the bad cholesterol in the body and help to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Legumes are rich sources of important minerals required by the body, which include, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. E.g. Baked beans, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans.

Vegetables and Fruits

When cooking vegetables, try steaming or microwaving them to retain their nutrients. Vegetables like beet, carrot, cabbage can be consumed in their raw state for maximum health benefits. If you are trying to lose weight, leafy vegetables are useful. Vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and spinach are high in nutrients and energy. Fruits like oranges are high in vitamin C, which helps to relieve fatigue. E.g. Apple, banana, pear, citrus fruits, grapes, avocado, spinach, yams, carrot, and potato.
Dairy Products

Dairy products are the major sources of dietary calcium for the body. Their intake boosts the energy levels without significantly increasing the total calorie or fat intake. E.g. Milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, and skim milk smoothies.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats which act as a great source of energy for the body. Snacking on a handful of these nuts and seeds can keep you full for a longer time, keeping your energy levels up.E.g. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, soy nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and Flax seeds.

Non-vegan Foods

Non-vegetarian foods are rich sources of protein and vitamins, especially vitamin B12 which is not available in plant sources. Though proteins obtained from animal sources are essential for the body, they should be consumed in moderate amounts. Red meat contains a high amount of saturated fat which can lead to heart diseases. Fish are low in fat and are good sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. E.g. Fish, Meat, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Veal, Beef, and Shellfish.

Energy-enhancing Foods

Biscuits, cakes, desserts, egg, pulses, peanut butter, pea and ham soup, bran muffin, juices, high protein energy bars, smoothies, soups, etc. are great sources of energy, but must be had in moderation, to complement your diet in the right way.

Our body converts the energy stored in these food items into a form of energy that can be utilized by our body. So, when we talk about the calories present in a food item, it is actually the amount of energy stored in that particular food. Thus, we can say that foods that are high in calories are a great source of energy. But, not all energy-providing foods are beneficial for the body. Many high calorie foods like those containing sugar, provides energy that last for a short time. Moreover, the calories supplied by such foods are quite unhealthy since they get converted into fats. But, there are many foods that are low in calories and provide enough energy to accomplish the daily tasks without posing any health problems. Thus, one should rely on low calorie foods for a healthy diet.

The foods mentioned above are great energy boosters and should be a part of a healthy diet. A nutritious diet is the key to a healthy life, but apart from it you should also exercise regularly to relieve stress and fatigue. So, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and be active to stay fit and healthy.

Mental Health Perspectives

Everyone feels anxiety in their lives. Whether we’re nervous about a job interview or worrying about a child’s safety, anxiety is a part of life. That fight-or-flight response is what enabled our ancestors to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, today’s hectic modern world is much different than the one in which we originally developed. Rather than worrying about having enough food to eat or being attacked by predators we worry about the many intricacies our complex lives have to offer. This can cause, in some individuals, irrational and debilitating anxieties. When this happens, the individual has an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are often known as the common cold of mental illness. They affect millions of people every year. The overwhelming feelings of anxiety and nervousness can cause a person to stop functioning in our world altogether. As a sufferer of generalized anxiety disorder myself, I have seen firsthand how this illness can become more than a normal case of nervousness and turn in to a disability. There are a number of different varieties of anxiety disorders that have been identified by psychologists, each of which is treatable with either therapy or medication.

For this issue of Mental Health Perspectives, we’ll focus on two of the most common anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

There is no specific rhyme or reason to the intense feelings of worry that sufferers of generalized anxiety disorder face. This persistent anxiety, while sometimes triggered by certain events or circumstances, is often brought on randomly. This illness can not only cause unrelenting feelings of anxiety but also create physical symptoms such as headaches, heart palpitations, exhaustion, and insomnia. Sufferers can find daily life almost unbearable and can even push the inflicted person to take a leave of absence due to disability from work or school.

Coming from personal experience, this illness causes incredible suffering to those afflicted. I have missed many days of work and school because I was so anxious I couldn’t attend. The emotion is overwhelming and one can do nothing but stay home and take a tranquilizing medication in order to calm the anxiety attack. It is a physical feeling that occurs in the chest, almost like someone is gripping onto the heart. It’s an illness that I would never wish on even my worst enemy and yet I battle daily in order to control. Recovery from it can be long and arduous, though fortunately it’s very treatable.

Panic Disorder

Brief, paralyzing bouts of fear and anxiety are the prominent symptoms of a panic disorder. A panic attack is often described by those who experience them like a heart attack. Shaking, dizziness, disorientation, confusion, and intense fear often accompany this feeling. Sufferers often find these attacks to be highly embarrassing when they occur in a public situation.

Though I have not experienced this illness personally, one of my best friends in high school suffered from terrible panic attacks. The first time it happened to her the pain in her chest was so intense that everyone thought she had suffered a heart attack. Upon being rushed to the emergency room they discovered she’d merely had a panic attack, yet this shows how incredibly strong these attacks can be. They are entirely debilitating for the short period of time during which they occur. They last anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours and leave the sufferer feeling exhausted.

These are just two of the many anxiety disorders that afflict millions of Americans on a yearly basis. Those who believe they may be suffering from either of these disorders should seek immediate medical attention. As I mentioned earlier, both are very treatable. Recovery may be difficult but it is most certainly possible.

Importance of Counseling

The world, as we know it, has changed. The stimulants have gone into overdrive, and with that, so have the demands. There is so much happening everywhere―schools and colleges, the workplace, in relationships, in technology … and all this has had an effect on us, our living, and the way we think. It does not come as a surprise then that the stress and tensions in people’s lives have also escalated. With so much happening, and so much to deal with, it is not always possible for one person to do it all. And that is exactly why counseling becomes important.

Why is Counseling Important?

Sometimes it’s beyond one’s scope to be able to handle it all. There are so many things happening at so many levels which demand equal importance that it can get extremely overwhelming to take it all in, and do the best one can. From time to time, one requires assistance to cope with all these factors, and while some problems might be solved with the help of friends and relatives, there are others which are more complicated and may require a professional, or trained specialist to handle them―that is where counseling comes in. Counseling offers a platform whereby a person can speak to a counselor―a trained professional in that field, who will help him find a solution to his problem(s) through varied methods.

Why Does Counseling Work?

The basic crux of counseling remains the same, though the fields might change. The scope of counseling is extremely wide and includes fields, like career counseling, industrial counseling, marriage counseling, school counseling, addiction counseling, and so on. So, a counselor might be hired in educational institutes, medical centers, industries, etc.

When a person is stressed and emotionally involved in something, his reasoning could get blocked, and it might not be possible for him to objectively approach a solution, or the scope of the problem may be so complex and vast, that it is not possible for a person to handle it―that’s where he can seek the help of a professional.

A counselor is a non-judgmental professional who will keep the problems confidential, and that is why people find it a non-threatening approach to adopt for finding relief from their many problems.

How Does Counseling Work?
Counseling is a very wide term and includes several functions within itself. The scope of counseling will change with the nature of the problem. A single approach or method cannot work for all. Depending on the kind of problem or dilemma, the counselor will decide the approach to follow. In that direction, the scope of counseling can be broadly divided into certain functions. Let us understand what these are.

De-stress
To reiterate what was said earlier, when a person has problems and is emotionally involved in something, it could block his reasoning and objectivity, and that’s where a counselor helps. Sometimes a person needs a listening ear so that he can vent and reach a solution. Problems that arise due to family feuds, work pressure, relationship problems in the personal and professional world, and the stress that is born out if these situations could be solved with the help of a counselor. For example, if parents opposing your choice of a partner can lead to a lot of stress, working with a counselor allows you to deal with that stress better.

Resolving a Conflict
Left on his own, a person who is stressed and facing a problem might not really be able to find a solution for himself. He then requires the help of a counselor. The counselor will help him get to the root cause of the problem(s) and understand it better. Along with that, he will also help with the kind of choices that he can look into and help him find a solution. An example of this would be the kind of career to choose―a person might be conflicted and confused about what to take up, and a counselor will help with exactly that.

Providing Solutions
A counselor, depending on the scope of the problem, will either facilitate the process for the person to find a solution by himself, or if the problem is too complex for a person to find a solution on his own, will provide solutions. For example, let’s say a person is interested in studying medicine, but he has either not got through the course or is finding it difficult to cope; in such a situation, the counselor will help by providing him with choices for an alternative or allied career, like physiotherapy or dentistry.

Conducting Tests
A very important section of counseling also involves conducting tests. These include, but are not limited to, aptitude tests, career tests, or stress tests in several industries. The main objectives of conducting these tests is for diagnosing mental illnesses, to understand the interests in order to help with a career choice, and to calculate the aptitude in order to recruit candidates in varied industries. After conducting a test, a counselor will have a session with the subject to talk about the test and provide the right direction to go forward.

Line of Treatment
One of the most important functions that counseling helps with is to approach each problem as unique, and in that way, decide upon the line of treatment. Even though counseling applies in all major fields, the scope of counseling will be different in different areas.

Sometimes a problem is simple, like confusion about the kind of subjects to choose for studying―a vocational counselor will help in this direction. At other times, problems could involve changing the very course of life, like a career to choose. In such a situation, a career counselor will conduct tests and help a student find a career that suits him best after combining his aptitude and interests, as well as after taking counseling sessions with him. Sometimes problems are highly complex and cannot be solved personally―something on the lines of addictions and phobias, which require careful planning of the kind of treatment that has to be used. These cannot be solved in a day or two, and require a combination of several techniques and multiple sessions to provide proper results.

The nature of the problems might be subject to change―like in schools, or addiction centers, but the nature of counseling will always be the same―to help people find a solution to their problems and aid them lead better lives. However, some people are of the opinion that seeking counseling is akin to admitting that one is weak, which is not really the right way to look at it. Counseling helps improve the quality of a person’s life, and that is the know all and end all of it all.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress has become an unavoidable part of modern lifestyle. Stress management, which mainly includes time management, and breathing and relaxation techniques, helps reduce tension. Some simple exercises prevent stress from taking a toll on the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of a person. Instead of erupting in a fierce debate over ‘life and stress’, it is better to learn various types of exercises for stress management.

Exercise and Stress Management

Relaxation Exercises

These are breathing exercises. Normally while breathing, you use only a small fraction of your lungs, providing insufficient oxygen to the lungs. Slow and rhythmic breathing allows you to draw copious amount of oxygen into the lungs, which then is supplied to the blood. Basic breathing techniques can help drive away anxiety and various disorders like high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases. Breathing is the link between your mind and body. If you opt for various ways of rhythmic breathing like anulom vilom pranayama, or bhramari pranayama, you can notice the difference in your state of mind, within a few days. What’s more, these exercises are not even time-consuming!
Yoga

Yoga exercises involve various postures and holding your body in those postures for a while. Breathing control is an important aspect of these exercises. They help in increasing the rate of body metabolism and level of energy. The most amazing fact about these exercises is that they bring about a spiritual awakening and a holistic change in the functioning of your body. Kids can pick up yoga techniques quickly and they are among the best stress management exercises for them.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises are usually long in duration but low in intensity, offering the required oxygen to the body. Adults as well as children enjoy doing these exercises which include walking, jogging, swimming, biking, ballroom dancing, etc. They can be done with or without equipment. As kids too are stressed most of the time, it would be better if they follow some of the relaxation exercises that are designed for children.

Cardiovascular Exercises

Treadmill workouts or any type of cardiovascular exercises of your own choice can help relieve stress. Your physical as well as mental health can be improved with the help of regular work outs. Remember, the warmup and cooling down exercises should be done religiously.

Laughter Yoga

Laughter yoga is a very easy way of driving away stress. All you are supposed to do is laugh! If you join a laughter club, you will learn various ways of laughing. Laughing with other club members can be a totally different experience. With a new outlook, you will start enjoying your life. The relaxation of facial and body muscles will offer you lots of energy.

Meditation

Doctors can prescribe pills as stress relievers but the natural way of achieving stress relief is to meditate. There are various types of meditation techniques like Buddhist meditation, Zen meditation, Vipassana meditation, etc., and you can choose the one you like.

Hypnotism

If you are interested in hypnotism, you can learn the technique of self-hypnosis which can help relieve stress.
It is essential to learn the techniques of yoga and meditation. They work as stress relievers and can help you overcome all the difficulties.

High Cholesterol is Linked With Stress

Gender, age, family history, weight, diet, and lifestyle are the main factors which influence cholesterol levels in your body. Of these, you cannot change your age, gender, and family history, but you can control your weight, and you can lead a stress-free lifestyle. Studies have shown that excessive psychological stress leads to an increase in cholesterol levels.

► Normal Cholesterol Levels
◑ Cholesterol, the waxy steroid metabolite, is present in each and every cell of your body. It is synthesized in the liver. Your body needs cholesterol for producing various hormones and bile juice. It is also essential for synthesizing vitamin D.
◑ Cholesterol present in the cell membranes helps increase cell permeability. Your body produces cholesterol, so you need not actually ingest cholesterol through food. Being waxy in nature, cholesterol does not dissolve in blood or water. When it gets accumulated in blood arteries, in the form of plaque, it leads to interrupted blood supply to organs, including the heart and brain. Thus, excessive accumulation of cholesterol increases the chances of death due to heart attack or stroke.
◑ There exist two types of cholesterol, Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.

◑ You are supposed to increase HDL levels and lower LDL levels. High HDL levels help lower LDL levels naturally. According to The American Heart Association (AHA), normal total blood cholesterol levels should be less than 200 mg/dL. Cholesterol levels are said to be ‘borderline high’ when they are in the range of 200 – 239 mg/dL. Cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL are referred to as high blood cholesterol levels.

► High Cholesterol and Stress
◑ How stress leads to high blood cholesterol levels is still a topic for research. More studies are required to understand the nature of relationship between stress and cholesterol.
◑ It is believed that the body tries to produce more energy to fight stress. In this process of producing more energy from fatty acids and glucose, body requires higher amount of LDL from the liver.

Excessive smoking results complications in health.
◑ People under stress smoke excessively; or drink excessive alcohol. This leads to affected functions of the glands and results in hormonal imbalance and health complications.

Unhealthy food increases bad cholesterol.
◑ People under stress also tend to follow an unhealthy diet. Social withdrawal due to excessive stress leads to emotional eating, binging, increased inactivity; all of which lead to higher cholesterol levels.
◑ Dietary alterations and lifestyle changes help maintain normal weight and cholesterol levels. Not only balanced diet, but regular exercises are essential to enjoy normal cholesterol levels. Exercises promote hormonal balance. They help lower accumulation of cholesterol in the body.
◑ Stressed people should try to stay away from smoking and alcohol abuse. Restricted consumption of alcohol can help increase good cholesterol, but it would not promote removal of bad cholesterol. So, it is better to learn some simple stress relieving techniques.

Fatty food should not be consumed because it increases bad cholesterol LDL.
◑ Stressed people often eat fatty foods like chocolates and sweets. They need to avoid this.

Aerobic exercises helps in lowering stress.
◑ They can join laughter clubs, perform meditation, aerobics, yoga and breathing exercises which help lower stress. They should avoid late night dinners and heavy desserts after dinners. Bad eating and sleeping habits can worsen the condition.

► Diet Control for High Cholesterol
◑ A properly planned diet plan helps lower the levels of cholesterol in blood. Dairy products, fish, meat and poultry that contain a high amount of cholesterol should be avoided. You may include low fat versions of dairy products, lean meat, lean fish in your diet in restricted amount.
◑ Overweight people need to lose weight by following weight loss diets and exercises. A high cholesterol diet plan should include various nutrients that help lower LDL cholesterol and which promote less absorption of cholesterol from food. The diet should include less meat and lots of vegetables and fruits consisting of dietary fiber. Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels and also helps lose weight. Capsaicin from hot chili peppers and the vitamin niacin help lower cholesterol levels as well.

◑ If you want to lower cholesterol without medication, you should include foods that help raise HDL cholesterol. Nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pistachios, fiber rich vegetables, fruits, berries, garlic, onion and restricted consumption of flax seed, flax seed oil, avocado oil, olive oil, canola oil, hazelnut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, red wine, etc., can help raise HDL levels.

Jogging helps to release tension and stress.
◑ To lower stress, choose a job where you can enjoy your work. Try to spend at least half an hour outdoors, in the garden, on a jogging track or on the bank of a river, listening to music, read books, play sports, talk to your friends, perform simple exercises like walking, cycling, and swimming. All this will help lower high cholesterol and stress levels. You should consult your physician if you want to opt for cholesterol reducing supplements.

Meditation Techniques for Stress

Stress has become synonymous to today’s fast-paced life. It is a leading cause for poor mental and physical health. In order to cope with stress, we need to adopt certain meditation techniques that will lead us to happier and healthier lifestyle.

Stress is a silent killer. Most of us have experienced or witnessed this at some time or the other.. Stress affects everything that we do―neither can we work efficiently enough, nor can we take proper decisions. Adding to that, a person who is undergoing stress is prone to certain medical conditions like heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes.

It has been found that using certain meditation techniques helps reduce, and with the passage of time, prevent stress from affecting us. It would therefore do us good to learn some easy meditation forms to help in dealing with stress effectively. If you’ve never done meditation before, it would do you good to begin with some basic exercises first.

Breathing Technique

  • To begin with, choose a comfortable spot.
  • Make sure that you’re wearing loose and comfortable clothes.
  • There should be no distractions when you sit for meditation. So keep the phone, TV, and other noise-making objects away.
  • Sit on a rug or mat and fold your legs in the lotus position (the heels of both feet, under the thighs).
  • Keep your back straight. Initially (before you get used to this), you can rest your back against a wall. But make sure that it is always straight. Give up this practice once you’re able to sit without support.
  • Sit quietly and close your eyes.
  • Relax all the muscles of your body, one by one. Start with the muscles of the feet and move up till the head. Tell yourself that you can feel the stress ebbing away from each and every muscle. Slowly, you will start to feel yourself relaxing.
  • Since you are new at this, it is understandable if you start to get distracted and your thought process shifts. Try to focus your attention on your breathing.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly.
  • Concentrate on the air being inhaled and exhaled, concentrating on the way the air fills you up and then leaves you.
  • Do this for 20 minutes each day.
  • Repeating this technique twice or thrice a day will only add to the benefits it reaps.
  • It is said that meditating for 20 minutes per day (if done right) is as good as making up for 4 hours of rest.

Focus on Objects and Sound

  • Place an object, like a mug, or candle before you.
  • Now, start examining the object.
  • Look at all its details―the shape, size, texture, and temperature.
  • Concentrating and focusing your entire attention on the object at hand will help you build your focusing powers.
  • Sometimes, having a word that you can say out loud and then focusing on all its nuances can help.
  • Many people use the word ‘Om’ (Pronounced Oommm) to help concentrate better.

Create a Happy Place

This technique has been found to be very effective. Create a ‘happy place’ for yourself. Include all the things that make you happy and help you relax. Now, build situations around this and imagine it in all its entirety, covering all the nuances, and including as many senses as you can in this exercise.

Relaxing Exercises

More and more people these days are choosing to take up exercises like yoga and Tai-chi, which combine exercising and meditation, and thus lead to stress relief. These are a series of exercises that involve mastering several poses and postures in varied degrees of difficulty. They also include breathing workouts and techniques. When one focuses on these exercises, there is very little else that can distract you.

Meditation techniques for stress have been around for ages, but it is only now that we have begun to realize the far-reaching positive effects that they have on us. Being one with your mind and soul is truly the best way to relax and reduce stress. When you try these techniques, you’ll experience it for yourself.

Healthy Eating Habits

Our overall health and well-being depends on what we eat. Food is the main source to get an adequate amount of nutrients that are essential for normal growth and functioning of the body. Hence, it is very important to develop eating habits for good health and physical fitness.

Your diet should be healthy and balanced. It should consist of adequate amounts of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibers. You should include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as dairy products in your daily diet. Generally, it should be low in fats and rich in proteins and carbohydrates.

Healthy Eating Tips
A key to healthy eating is the time-tested advice of variety, balance and moderation. You should eat a variety of foods without gaining excessive calories or any of nutrients. Here are some useful tips for healthy eating:

More than 40 different nutrients are required for normal growth and functioning of the body. Our daily meals should contain whole-grain products, fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry, dairy products, fish, meat and other protein foods. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fats, sodium and calories. Most vegetables contain and antioxidants phytochemicals, which prevent some chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancers.

Don’t skip a breakfast. After not eating anything for past 10-12 hours during night, our body requires food to boost the energy levels. Your breakfast should consist of fruits and a glassful of milk or fresh fruit juice. Avoid eating oily, high calorie snacks in breakfast.

Your lunch should be the largest meal of the day. Start every meal with a low-fat starter including soup, salad, broth or a glass of water. Your lunch should include enough quantity of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Include some raw vegetables and fruits in your lunch. Eat slowly and take care that you are not eating more than required. Your lunch should be followed by a fruit juice or fruit salad.

We all need some snacks in between two meals. So choose the snacks very carefully. Avoid eating junk foods, which lack in nutrients and contain high calories. Instead, select some healthy snacks such as vegetables, fruits, cottage cheese with applesauce, low fat yogurt, whole-wheat crackers or some trail mix. Dietary sugars can be replaced with no-calorie sweeteners.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday. It keeps your body hydrated. It is also helpful for body cleanse and weight loss.

If you keep a reasonable serving size, then it’s easy to eat adequate quantity of food and stay healthy. Excess eating can give rise to a number of health problems, including obesity.

If you are trying for weight loss, then don’t go for crash diets or don’t totally eliminate certain foods. You can reduce the foods that are rich in sugar, fat or salt. You can choose skim or low fat dairy products. If you are going to do some changes in your diet, then do it gradually. Sudden changes can give rise to food allergies.

Always remember, no food is good or bad. It’s up to you how to balance the variety of foods. Adopt healthy habits for good health and physical fitness, leading to a cheerful, healthy life.

Importance of Breakfast for Students

A number of studies have highlighted the benefits of a good nutritious breakfast for students. Unfortunately, however, many young ones have the tendency of skipping this important first meal. Students should have a complete and healthy breakfast on a daily basis.

As parents and caregivers, it is your responsibility to provide kids with a healthy breakfast. Many students refuse to eat breakfast before going to school, citing reasons such as lack of time, not feeling hungry, etc. However, they do not realize that not having breakfast actually hampers their health, and can cause various learning problems too.

To prevent such issues, it is necessary that students develop the habit of eating breakfast daily. Rather than forcing children, it is better if we make them understand the benefits of a good breakfast, so that the automatically start having it. In the following lines we highlight the several benefits that eating a healthy breakfast has and also present you with a few tips for preparing not just a healthy but a tasty breakfast for your little ones.

Breakfast Like a King
The importance of breakfast lies in the word itself. By eating breakfast, we are actually breaking the fast that was induced during the long gap after dinner the previous night, when we were asleep. By the time we wake up in the morning, most of our energy is used up and hence we need to re-energize in-order to go through our daily routine.

Students who do not eat or frequently skip breakfast are at a high risk of developing gastroenteritis and several other health problems. Not only that, students are required to pay attention and grasp new concepts in school and an empty stomach may come in the way of their progress.

It has been observed that children who do not have their breakfast before going to school tend to experience a number of health problems, including headache, sleepiness, stomach pain, muscle fatigue, etc. Also several psychological issues including indecisiveness, anger, anxiety, irritability, unhappiness, nervousness, lethargy, hostility, etc., are commonly seen in students who skip their breakfast. Such problems tend to hinder the learning process.

These days, schools students are not only required to learn different subjects, but are also expected to indulge in extracurricular activities for their overall development. For performing well, they need energy which comes from the glucose that breakfast provides. Moreover, eating breakfast regularly also helps in weight management and reduces the risk of child-obesity, which has become a common problem in recent times.

Students who have the habit of eating breakfast regularly, have reported better concentration and ability to pay attention during lessons, as compared to those who do not. Breakfast is also beneficial for the memory of the students as they are better able to remember and retrieve already learned information. Even the problem-solving ability of students is seen to be improved if they eat breakfast on a regular basis.

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between eating a healthy breakfast and the test scores. It has been observed that students who have their breakfast regularly, score better in their tests than those who don’t. Also, because a healthy breakfast provides ¼th of the nutrition that the body requires daily, there are less chances that children will indulge in binge eating, and thus avoid fast-foods which are not good for health.

What Makes a Healthy Breakfast
Now that we know its importance, the next step is to find out what exactly should be eaten for breakfast. Though carbohydrates that provide energy to the body are one of the most important part of a healthy breakfast, it is necessary to make sure that one doesn’t consume a carb-only meal in the morning. A complete breakfast should include all the necessary nutrients, including proteins, calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, zinc and iron. Also, make sure that it contains a minimum of sodium, salt and sugar.

A basic breakfast should include cereals, milk and fruits. There are plenty of healthy and easy breakfast recipes available on the Internet which you can try-out. The following are a few tips to help you prepare a healthy and nutritious breakfast for your little ones:

Fruits should be made part of the daily diet of children. Fresh fruits, like, oranges, grapes, mangoes, berries, apples, kiwis, etc. are good choices to be eaten for breakfast. They can be served with a cup of yogurt and cereal.

While choosing cereals, it is best to choose the high-fiber, hot cereals such as oatmeal. Cold cereals containing less sugar and more fiber too can be served occasionally. These cereals can be eaten by adding nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice to them.

Making a smoothie for breakfast is a nutritious and tasty option that will be loved by children. A vegetable omelet served with bran muffin and low fat milk or orange juice can also be a good idea for breakfast. Kids may also enjoy whole grain waffles served with ricotta cheese, peanut butter and fruits for breakfast.

Other than these, even the food leftover from the night before such as rice or sandwiches, can be served for breakfast.
Inculcating the habit of having a complete and healthy breakfast in children will not only aid them in their life as students, but also benefit them when they grow up into healthy adults.