I’ve lived with a lot of teachers over the past decade – mostly by chance (I’ve had over 25 roommates from Craigslist!), but all of them have changed my perspective of what it takes to teach.  If I had any idea how hard my teachers were working outside of the classroom, I’d have given them a lot more love!  Living with them has also given me some insight to the barriers around healthy eating.  They’re often overscheduled, have brutally early mornings, and are constantly emotionally challenged by kids who have problems from continence to language barriers to raging hormones – and that’s before they even get to class! To be able to respond in a constructive, loving, effective way you have to be on your A-game, which means a foundation of sleep and good nutrition.

The idea of “eating for performance” is not just for athletes – it’s for everyone.

“Performance” for teachers means getting a protein-rich, nutrient dense breakfast that will carry them to lunch.  Unfortunately, in America we’ve gotten into the habit of backloading our protein so that dinner has too much and breakfast has too little.  Here’s a visual from the Egg Nutrition Center:


Aiming for at least 20g of protein with a breakfast (that also contains fiber and fat) will ensure you don’t get hangry (hungry –>angry), and also give your metabolism a jump start.

Which brings me to the portable oatmeal & yogurt fixin’s basket.  I currently live with an amazing lady named Elise who is such a kick butt teacher that she is now the interim PRINCIPAL of a bilingual middle school…at the age of 27.  (Check her out.  BOOM.)  She and I were enjoying an amazing ScratchDC dinner on our deck earlier this week, and talking about how much we loved the service – they make it easy and fast to have a fresh meal ready to eat in 20 minutes.  “I wish they did breakfast!” she said.  “I need something I can throw together and eat on my way to school, or keep at my desk.”   After a few minutes, the Basket Bar was born.  Based on the concept of having a variety of shelf-stable options you can combine in lots of ways that I used to feed 20 people for a weekend yoga retreat, the Basket Bar was born.

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The Basket Bar:

Step 1: get a basket.  I got this on at Target, and made sure it would comfortably fit the jars.
Step 2: get jars.  I purchased 9 Ball canning jars of different sizes, and filled them as such:
Step 3: fill them with high-protein, fiber-rich, nutrient packed toppings

  • slivered almonds (L)
  • pecan pieces (M)
  • flaked coconut (M)
  • raisins (M)
  • craisins (or other dried fruit) (M)
  • sunflower seeds (S)
  • chia seeds (S)
  • dark chocolate morsels (S)
  • ground flax (S)
    (size indicates which jar was used)

I also threw in a measuring spoon/cup set for portioning, and a few bags of frozen berries.  Add that to a base of plain greek yogurt or steel cut oatmeal, and you have an awesome breakfast or snack.  The first day of school is coming up…do you know any teachers who need a gift like this? (HINT: get them one.)

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From Elise:

Best day everrrr”