Published: March 31, 2023
For military children, proper nutrition is essential for building resilience. Military children often experience unique stressors, including frequent moves, family separation due to deployment, and new school and community adjustment. Resilience, or the capacity to adapt to stressful situations and changes in their environment, is a valuable skill that can help military children cope with challenges.
Here are three ways proper nutrition can help build resilience in military children:
Proper Nutrition Reduces Stress
With frequent transitions, parental deployments, and other lifestyle factors, sleep is often difficult for children if they cannot adapt to new environments or schedules. Children may become irritable and moody without adequate rest, leading to further stress. Fortunately, proper nutrition can help combat this. Eating a balanced diet that includes all the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients can provide the energy and resources needed to cope with stressors.
Additionally, certain foods, such as those high in omega-3 fatty acids, have been found to positively affect mental health and mood. By providing your child with the nutritional benefits of these healthy foods, you can help promote overall resilience. Some tips for managing stress in military children include maintaining a consistent daily routine, engaging in regular physical activity, and seeking support from friends, family, and mental health professionals.
Lastly, proper nutrition can also promote social connectedness and family cohesion. Eating together as a family can provide stability and routine, which is particularly important during times of stress and uncertainty. It can also be a time for parents to model healthy eating habits and reinforce the importance of proper nutrition for their children.
Proper Nutrition Improves Sleep Quality
Eating healthy foods helps the body produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Melatonin helps us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, so getting enough of it is important for quality rest. Incorporating whole grains, dairy products, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables into a child’s diet can provide the nutrients necessary to boost melatonin production. Nutrient-rich meals also help with overall health and improve daily alertness.
Good sleep habits are also important to promote healthy rest. Eating dinner at least two hours before bedtime can encourage children to relax and avoid indigestion and sleeping problems. Setting regular sleep times and avoiding caffeine, electronic devices, and other stimulants before bed is also helpful.
Proper Nutrition Increases Energy Levels
Eating nutritious foods not only helps give children physical energy but also provides them with mental and emotional resilience. Proper nutrition can boost energy levels by providing the necessary vitamins and minerals that help maintain a healthy immune system. Ensuring that military children have proper nutrition can increase energy levels and give them the strength to gain control over their lives.
Military children are important to our nation, and investing in their well-being is essential.
As you can see, proper nutrition has many benefits that can help military children build resilience, including reducing stress, improving sleep quality, and increasing energy.
Month of the Military Child is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the importance of proper nutrition in strengthening our military children. With the right nutrition, we can ensure our children have the best opportunity to thrive and succeed in the face of extraordinary stressors associated with the military lifestyle.