Lake Travis ISD Wellness Watch
Notice at the center of the WSCC model is a child. We believe every child should be safe, healthy, challenged, supported, and engaged. This is achieved through the supportive structures of family, school, and community surrounding the child.
This spring, Lake Travis ISD's School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) decided to create a quarterly newsletter to share information that will help families and the community support student health in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, social and emotional wellness, and health education. We will focus on these areas to support and encourage families to implement simple habits that are important for healthy development.
Weathering the Storm - Recognizing Trauma
by: Jennifer Lyon, M.Ed.
Director of Health and SEL, Lake Travis ISD
Over the course of the last year our lives have been impacted by so many big, challenging events that no one could have anticipated - a global pandemic, social and civil unrest, political divisiveness, and a debilitating winter storm. All of these things have changed our schedules, routines, school and work lives, how we live day to day, and our sense of safety and security. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. No matter your life circumstance, all of us have experienced some level of unexpected stress and trauma in recent months.
How do you know if you are experiencing symptoms of trauma? Look for the following changes in behavior of yourself or your children:
Limited sense of future
Sadness or grief
How do you mitigate these feelings and behaviors to build resilience and overcome the stress and trauma? Try the following:
Develop and maintain routines (knowing what is going to happen next soothes the nervous system)
Use a Gratitude Journal (practicing gratitude can help you become more optimistic, boost your immune system, and help you to feel happier)
Spend time outdoors in nature (research suggests that spending time outdoors can reduce the level of cortisol in your body)
Additional resources you can access:
SPRING into SUNSHINE!
Lead Nurse, Lake Travis ISD
In the Texas Hill Country, spring time is the sweet spot between gloomy winter days and the scorching heat of summer. Now is the time to take advantage of any of the number of outdoor activities in our area. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:
Ziplining across Lake Travis, or exploring along the shore of any of the Highland Lakes
Bird watching - the Texas Hill Country has some of the best birding in the state as migratory birds make their way north for the summer season.
Grab a fishing pole and see if you can catch your dinner.
Don’t forget about the wonders close to home in your own back yard or neighborhood park.
Why is it important for us to get outside? SUNSHINE! Not just for growing plants, kids actually need daylight to thrive. A number of studies confirm that kids benefit when they are exposed to outdoor levels of illumination. Here are some of the most notable benefits of outdoor light for children and adults:
Sunlight can improve MOOD. Did you know that bright light therapy is prescribed for its therapeutic effects on seasonal affective disorder?
Sunlight helps the body produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, which is critical for bone health. It also supports the nervous system and strengthens the body’s defenses against infections.
Sunlight early in the day can lead to an earlier bedtime. But be aware - the opposite is also true! This has to do with your body’s circadian rhythm, which is an internal 24-hour clock that impacts sleep and wakefulness.
Worried that seasonal allergies may try to ruin the fun of being outside? There are ways to protect yourself and your family while still enjoying the great outdoors!
Keep an eye on the allergen forecast - days with high pollen counts may not be the best days for prolonged outdoor activities. Be mindful of what ‘triggers’ are high on a day when allergy symptoms increase. This will help you know what to avoid in the future.
Make sure to shower and change clothes after being outdoors - pollen likes to hang out on clothes and in your hair, which means it can trigger allergy symptoms even after you come inside.
Ask your physician if routine allergy medicine is right for you. Many over-the-counter medications are sufficient to combat seasonal allergies, but prescription medications are also available.
BLAST OFF with Breakfast, at Home or at School!
By: Marissa Albers, MPH, RD
Dietitian & Marketing Coordinator, LTISD Food and Nutrition Services
Nutrition in the LTISD Kitchen
Lake Travis ISD celebrated National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) March 8-12th! According to the School Nutrition Association, schools across the country celebrate breakfast for its role in improving students’ academic achievement, alertness, concentration, and memory throughout the day. This year’s breakfast week theme was “Blast Off for a Healthy School Breakfast!” Moon cakes- whole grain rich pancakes cut into moon shapes- was one of our favorite items featured on the elementary menu.
The Importance of Whole Grains
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we make at least 50% of our grains, whole grains. When we choose whole grains over refined grains, we get more vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber! All of which are important for promoting healthy growth in children and adolescents as well as to maintain optimal body function. To learn more about the difference between whole grains and refined grains, visit the Whole Grains Council website.
Healthy at Home: Pancakes
Try these tips to increase your family’s whole grain intake at breakfast!
Make a large batch of pancakes at once and freeze them in a gallon zip lock bag. Pop them in the toaster to heat & eat on-the-go throughout the week.
Top your pancakes with toppings that are both healthy and tasty! Try the following:
Nut, seed, or soy butters
Fruit (such as berries or bananas)
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Toasted nuts or seeds
Dark chocolate chip minis
Recruit your child’s help in the kitchen. Older students can help measure ingredients, and younger students can help stir or add their own toppings to the final product.
Turn your pancakes into fun shapes using a cookie cutter.
How much physical activity does your child need daily?
By: Danielle Zibilski
Physical Education and Health Teacher, Serene Hills Elementary School
This depends on how old your child is, and ranges from being active throughout the day for preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) to being active for 60 minutes or more for school-aged children and adolescents (ages 6 through 17 years). This may sound like a lot, but don’t worry! Your child may already be meeting the recommended physical activity levels through recess and sports. And, you’ll soon discover all the easy and enjoyable ways to help your child meet the recommendations. Encourage your child to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable, and offer variety!
Recommended Levels for Preschool-Aged Children (ages 3 through 5 years)
Preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day for growth and development.
Adult caregivers should encourage preschool-aged children to be active when they play.
Recommended Levels for School-Aged Children and Adolescents (ages 6 through 17 years)
Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity each day, including daily aerobic – and activities that strengthen bones (like running or jumping) – 3 days each week, and that build muscles (like climbing or doing push-ups) – 3 days each week.
How do I know if my child’s aerobic activity is moderate- or vigorous-intensity?
Here are two ways to think about a moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity:
On a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your child does moderate-intensity activity, their heart will beat faster and they will breathe much harder than when they are at rest or sitting. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your child does vigorous-intensity activity, their heart will beat much faster than normal and they will breathe much harder than normal.
Another example is when your child walks to school with friends each morning. They’re probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while at school, when your child runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, they’re probably doing vigorous-intensity activity. If your child has PE every other day try to focus on getting them active after school on the days that they do not have PE.