Mental health specialist, chef, and dietitian April Hackert (right in jacket) enjoys plant-forward recipes with participants at culinary medicine training offered by Groundwork Center.

This article is part of it Health condition, A series on how Michigan communities can tackle health challenges. It is possible with financial support Michigan Health Gift Fund.

Northwest Michigan teachers, mental health professionals and food service directors work together to support the children they serve by connecting the points between good nutrition and good mental health.

Paula Martin is a nonprofit community nutrition policy provider based in Traver City Landworks Center, Provides educational activities, including a nutrition-based program, to a variety of partners, including TBAISD, in the Tripis Bay Area Middle School District. She mentions Studies Easy introductions in school breakfast programs ensure that students improve academic performance, stay focused during school, and have lower behavioral problems, better attendance, less delays, fewer trips to school nurses, and increased graduation rates.

»Dietary Psychiatry It’s a growing field. Says Martin. When we help improve the quality of food, we help to calm the brain. If children’s basic nutritional needs are not met, they will start at the bottom of the well.
Fred Laullin is preparing to visit Sarah Hard Farmers Market in downtown Travers City with participants from the Earthworks Center’s 2019 Agriculture, Food and Health Conference.
Workforce Center staff from farm-to-school projects and school-based food programs to tackle bad childhood experiences and build resilience through nutrition, mental health, exercise, body composition, sleep and brain function.

Martin says: “Children who are depressed early in life are very impatient when they are hungry. You need to be ready to sue. The time it takes to go from the stove to the table can be very stressful. ”

Program for Behavioral Health and Nutrition

Northwest Michigan providers have developed a variety of programs to promote children’s behavioral health and nutrition in schools. Of Northwest Michigan Department of Health (HDNM) has set up Children and Adolescent Health Centers in the districts of Alconson, Boine Allste, Central Lake, Charlevix, East Jordan, and Elsworth Public Schools. In addition to the traditional school nurse, these centers provide primary care for children, vision and hearing screening, health education, behavioral and developmental health screenings, and mental health care.

Behavioral health workers in Otsego, Antim, Charleox and Emmet districts are also based on evidence Careful schools Curriculum into the classroom. Teachers guide students through simple thinking exercises twice a week for eight weeks.
High school students at Petsky Central Elementary School will practice mindfulness in 2019.
They can help students make a ‘thoughtful minute’ to focus on what is happening around them and in their minds. [and] To understand their feelings, says Lynn Demoor, HDNM Community Health Coordinator and Nutritionist. One thing children can tell us is that they can stay calm and not get upset.

Another practice is called “Hot Cocoa Breath.” Children are encouraged to drink a cup of hot cocoa to drink. Waiting for it to cool down, they inhale slowly through their nostrils and enjoy the delicious aroma, then slowly inhale the cocoa to cool it down.

“Children learn to use such techniques in hot weather,” says Demor. They remember, ‘Now we can breathe hot cocoa’ and they know it helps them feel good. We also teach them a lot about how they feel in their bodies – when their shoulders roll over to their ears, their teeth clap, their hands clasped – to identify the symptoms in their bodies and know what they mean and then something will burn. “

He shared that techniques have helped secondary school children stay focused on school and fall asleep before going to bed. Teenagers can use their minds to replace negative thoughts or peers with compassion. And teachers report that they have minutes to learn more. As the classroom shows signs of breaking into chaos, teachers take a few minutes to help their students understand their behavior.

“Teachers want to use it when children return to class after lunch,” says Dimor. “Another important part of the curriculum is to learn gratitude and kindness and to be able to develop their own appreciation for what they have been praised for. [such as that] You see the color you like or the fresh air you breathe. Finding those ways to express gratitude will help us to be gentle with ourselves.

Brain foods promote intelligence and good behavior

According to Demoor, a healthy diet is equally important for students’ behavioral health.

You’ve heard the expression “hangar.” There is a direct result, ”said Demor. “First and foremost, our brain is based on a constant supply of blood for energy. Other body systems can convert fat or muscle into energy, but not the brain.

This does not mean that any old food will work its way out. Healthy blood sugar is made up of foods such as nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, berries and grains. Demor explains that serotonin, which 95% of the brain’s neurons rely on, is produced in the gut during digestion.

USDA Agricultural: School Funding The PHNX ‘Try the Tuesday’ program funded Petsky Public Schools, which provides locally grown food at Petsky Public Schools. After tasting the food, students vote “tried”, “liked” or “liked”. When a meal receives an abundance of “likes” sounds, the Food Services director adds a spin to the lunch menu.

TBAISD has both farm-to-school programs and SNAP-Ed Programs in many schools, as well. Some schools have nutrition classes, taste tests, possible garden beds or hop houses Michigan Month Harvest Activities, or cooking exposure.
Buckle School / Community Garden in Buckley, MA. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
“We do a lot of nutrition work with schools,” says Marshall Collins, a TIS education service consultant for School Health and Social Services. We are trying to make a difference in the system, not just in education, we are working with the school and the community to support policies, systems and environmental changes.

Collins agrees that strategies such as mindfulness and traumatic approaches can help children achieve better behavioral health.

He plays in that whole boy’s approach. Many things later affect a child’s behavior:… Children’s behavior, how children eat and how children learn. It may be helpful to download some of these items. ”Says Collins. “Eating is easy. They only provide better nutrition in the school system to make children feel better. Our children are being exposed to a variety of vegetables and fruits, learning how to look after themselves, how to dress on their plate, and not overeating. As adults, we get frustrated when we do not eat. Think of yourself as a child.

We achieve what we eat

While academics have always been about brain power, the emergence of tools such as perception and eating habits in behavioral health can help many children achieve academic success and feel happier when they do. Collins says that schools often expect good work from students, regardless of how well they do outside of school.

“We don’t know if that student had a healthy breakfast. We do not know if they had the right amount of sleep. We don’t really know what’s going on in their lives. ” The first thing we focus on is our priorities, in fact our priority should be children. We must make sure that they are cared for.

Freelance writer and editor, Estel Slooker, is passionate about social justice, security and the arts. She is a development news editor Fast Growth Media And chairs the tree Amigos, City of Wyoming Tree Commission. Her greatest achievement is the five amazing adult children. You can contact Steel at or

Buckley School / Community Garden Photo by TBAISD. Photo courtesy of Northwest Michigan Department of Health. All other photos are courtesy of the Earthworks.