This article was written by Winston Brady — a Curriculum Adviser and Humanities teacher at Thales Academy in Apex, where he has taught for 7 years. He and his wife Rachel have an 18-month old son, Hunter and live in Raleigh.
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My school asks that teachers fill out a list of their favorite candies, restaurants, and drinks. That way, if parents want to show their appreciation for a teacher, they know exactly what to buy. The year I listed my favorite candy as Lindt Truffles, with those Swiss delicacies prominently displayed for Christmas, I received dozens of small bags of the rich chocolate truffles. I kept them in my desk and grazed on them for weeks like I was a cow with an entire pasture all to myself. The next year I changed my favorite candy to “almonds” and tried to start eating healthier from that day forward.
It’s hard for teachers to eat healthy during the school year. With mountains of grading and hours of extracurricular activities, free time is practically non-existent. With no time to cook healthy meals, we opt for fast food or frozen dinners that are sky-high in sodium, fats, and preservatives instead. Then, most people relieve stress by overeating, and teachers are under a lot of stress. What can we do?
It’s hard to give 100% to your students when your body is running on 100% junk. So here’s one tip per meal, plus snacks, to spur healthier eating in spite of the constraints teachers operate under. Bon appetite!
*These tips don’t necessarily focus on diet and weight loss, but are meant to help build habits for healthier eating during the school day, since stress leads us to eat nothing but junk food, in ridiculous quantities! A little meal planning and mass-producing a few healthy eating options can go a long way towards better teaching. After all, the better food we give ourselves, the better teaching we can give our students.
In the morning I pass by 2 Bojangles, 1 Chik-Fil-A, and 2 McDonalds. My willpower has the consistency of the freshly-baked biscuits I want so much, so if I don’t have breakfast, I’m a goner.
To make sure you get a good breakfast, make jars of overnight oats every Sunday afternoon that'll last you the whole week.
Overnight oats taste better than stovetop oatmeal and making it this way saves on clean up and prep time. Fill a mason jar with half oatmeal, half milk (or water), and then add yogurt or berries. Let it sit overnight, and you’ll have one great breakfast waiting for you.
Most schools don’t have very many healthy choices in their cafeteria, so most teachers bring frozen meals for lunch. But there are healthier options that don't take too much time to prepare. One delicious option is salad in a jar.
You’ll find dozens of recipes online, but the practice is simple enough: put salad dressing at the bottom, a layer of fruit or cheese, and lettuce on top. Layering the salad like this helps the lettuce stay crisp while making it easy to store and transport a whole salad. And it looks pretty!
Afternoon fatigue kills diets. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to open a Coke or potato chips, so try to keep something close by to combat cravings.
Try making kale smoothies blended with pineapple, vegan protein powder, and yogurt to mask the not-so-desirable taste of kale. Makes enough to take some to school. It's the perfect energy boost needed to get through the afternoon.
It's OK to let down your guard at dinner. The point of a good, hearty meal is to reconnect with loved ones after a long day at work, that you don’t get to talk to them while you're teaching. Plan meals and cook delicious, healthy dishes, that help you relax and not worry about counting calories.
Late Night Snacks
Don’t eat them. At night, you should be resting up for the day ahead of you. Try to organize your evening routine to help put you to sleep: wine or tea, a good book, and a resolution to not check email until the next morning.
Calories consumed after dinner are generally not needed and they’re stored as fat, and anything you can do to relax and get a good night’s sleep goes a long way for one’s health and well-being.
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