Nutrition and Exercise Play a Pivotal Role During Your Childs Distance Learning Time at Home

As South Dakotans we know the next few weeks of work, school and education will create challenges as we address COVID 19. Our family’s and student’s health should not be overlooked during this time. Even though we have become socially distanced with many activities and sports seasons cut short, good nutrition remains extremely important for students’ growing minds and bodies as well as their activity levels. As a parent, I also want to offer my children good nutritious meals and encourage physical activity, so they perform the best they can academically as well as encourage a healthy immune system. 

Eating a balanced diet, with a variety of foods from all the food groups as well as getting plenty of exercise and rest, helps with overall health. Most people do not realize how important lean protein is in the diet when it comes to creating strength for overall health and wellbeing. Animal protein, such as that found in beef, is a complete, high-quality protein. It contains all the essential amino acids bodies need to build and maintain muscle, bone, skin, hair and other tissues. Protein also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body weight, fueling recovery after physical activity, helping feelings of fullness after meals, and supporting brain and immune system function.1 

Beef is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It also contains 9 other essential nutrients. Here are a few I’d like to highlight that are crucial in the diet. 

  • Zinc – Is an important mineral for strength.2 The brain has a significant concentration of zinc, making it a key nutrient for proper growth and to strengthen communications between neurons.3 Zinc also supports a healthy immune system. 
  • Vitamin B6 – Supports the metabolism of amino acids and fatty acids. Vitamin B6 influences cognitive development, immune function, and the activity of steroid hormones.
  • Iron – Is an essential nutrient for both the function and growth of your body,5 it is estimated that more than 5.5 percent of the U.S. population suffers from iron deficiency anemia.6 Iron is responsible for taking oxygen from your lungs and shuttling it to every cell in your body. 

Looking for resources? We have a variety of resources that may be useful during this time at home. For physical activity breaks, consider using our Farm to Gym 20-minute workout as well as many other resources found on the Beef Its What’s For Dinner strength webpage. We also have a wide variety of easy, nutritious and economical beef recipes as well as other activity resources on our All About Family page on the website.