Healthy habits from your doctors

A new school year is approaching! Here are some healthy tips to get your kiddos off to a great start this school year.

  1. Good sleep is one of the most important factors in ensuring that your children are alert and attentive throughout their school day.  Poor sleep is believed to be linked to reduced activation in critical brain regions such as the frontal and parietal lobes, thereby likely impinging on alertness and attention, impairing restorative processes, and resulting in subsequent difficulties in impulsivity and working memory that are important for academic achievement. Additionally, insufficient sleep may promote feelings of sleepiness and irritability, influence task completion and persistence, and lead to poor task performance. Children between the ages of 6–13 require between 9–11 hours of sleep per night to minimize behavioral problems and cognitive deficits believed to impact the ability to learn in school (Diaz, 2016). 

  2. nutritious breakfast is key to starting the day right. Incorporating nutrient dense foods with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates will allow for better brain function and focus and keep your child feeling full for longer. Try to avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar as this can lead to glucose peaks and dips throughout the day. A smoothie filled with fruits, vegetables, yogurts, and seeds is a strong way to start off any school day.

    • Protein: eggs, meats, nuts, seeds, lentils

    • Healthy fats: avocados, nut butters, cheese, chia seeds, yogurts

    • Complex Carbohydrates: oats, berries, potatoes

  3. Include 2-3 servings of vegetables in your child’s lunch. Our providers recommend  that each individual eats 7 servings of vegetables per day. Have a picky eater? Try these pasta tricks:

    • Blend some vegetables into your pasta sauces. Spinach, carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers blend perfectly into your favorite pasta sauces. 

    • Try a dry pasta made from vegetables. Many are made from chickpeas, edamame, mung beans, black beans, and palm hearts. Or, make your own with some fresh spaghetti squash!

  4. Heavy backpacks can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain in children and teens. Check out this article from for information on how to choose the right kind of backpack, whether their backpack is too heavy, and how to lighten the load.

  5. Is your child having trouble in school? It may be because they can’t see the board! Make sure your child is having regular eye exams at their annual physicals* or with their optometrist. Check-ups are recommended every 1-2 years. 
    *Our providers see patients 12 years and up! Schedule a well-child exam with us!

  6. Get involved! Research shows that when families take an active, direct role in their children’s education, children get better grades and test scores and graduate from high school at higher rates (Kocayörük, 2016). Parental involvement can take many forms, including getting involved in PTA activities, discussing children’s progress with teachers regularly, checking homework every night, reading to preschoolers, and encouraging students to take the challenging courses.

We wish you all the best this school year. Stay healthy!


Flu shots are now available! Patients of Dr. Johnson or PA Nazema can get their flu shots at our office, paid for by their insurance. Prevent the flu and schedule yours today!


Diaz, A., Berger, R., Valiente, C., Eisenberg, N., VanSchyndel, S., Tao, C., Spinrad, T. L., Doane, L. D.,
       Thompson, M. S., Silva, K. M., & Southworth, J. (2017). Children’s Sleep and Academic Achievement:
       The Moderating Role of Effortful Control. International journal of behavioral development, 41(2), 275–

Kocayörük, E. (2016). Parental Involvement and School Achievement . International Journal of Human and
       Behavioral Science , 2 (2) , 1-7 . DOI: 10.19148/ijhbs.65987

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