Back to School Tips & Tricks

School goes back next week after a very long break. Here are a few tips and tricks on getting organised:

Be School Lunch Savvy

  1. Read the menu. All schools provide a monthly school lunch menu, usually online. Review it at the beginning of each month and help your child select and highlight healthier choices. Many schools now offer green salads.
  2. Check for quality ingredients. Some schools are trying to do better by providing whole grains, lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables (canned often contain additives and are not as healthy). School nutrition services will provide this information.
  3. Instil healthy eating habits at home. This will help children make smarter choices in the foods they choose in line.
  4. Maintain a small balance. If you pack a lunch for your child always have some meals in his lunch account so he can get a lunch at the cafeteria if his lunch drives away on the bus or gets stepped on at recess.

Packed Lunch

  1. Pack the night before. This will give your child time to plan ahead and make better choices.
  2. Choose foods your kids LOVE. The foods you pack will not provide your child with nutrition if they are tossed out or uneaten.
  3. Keep it cold. Use an insulated lunch box. Brown bags don’t keep food cold enough and food can spoil.
  4. Quick-pack snacks. Instead of buying the 100 calorie bag of cookies and chips, make your own quick packs and keep them in the fridge for the kids to choose from. Use zippered snack bags to help with portion control. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Veggie Sticks – like carrots, celery, cucumber and jicama (pack it with a small packet of peanut butter to go or hummus for dipping)
    2. Raw nuts – almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds
    3. Trail mix – dried fruit (raisins, banana chips, dried cranberries, dates) and mixed nuts
    4. Frozen yogurt. Freeze yogurt tubes or premixed fruit yogurt. Put it in the lunch in the morning and it will usually thaw before lunch.
    5. Freeze water in the bottle. It keeps it cold until lunch
    6. Homemade “Lunchables.” Pre-bag non-processed cheese slices, whole grain crackers and nitrate-free lunch meat.
    7. Fresh fruit. Grapes, berries, and Clementine oranges make great school lunch desserts.
    8. Apple slices. Soak fresh-cut apple slices in water and lemon juice for about 5 minutes, then let them air dry and they won’t turn brown.

Backpack Safety

According to a recent study the average child’s backpack weighs a whopping 20% of their bodyweight! This would be the equivalent of an average adult strapping TWO rubber car tires to their back! This puts an enormous amount of pressure on the spine which could lead to serious injuries. Here are some tips to ensuring your child has a safe pack for a healthy back:

  • Pick the Right Pack: This should feel like a no brainer, but with so many choices, its tough! Just because their favorite characters are on it or it’s the perfect shade of blue doesn’t mean its well made. Look for bags with wide padded straps, lots of pockets to distribute weight, and one that’s light weight. Straps that buckle at the waist are a big plus!
  • Try it on: Make sure you try on the backpack in the store. Check that the straps can be adjusted properly and that the backpack as a whole is a good size and not too small or big for your child. Make sure your child knows how to wear the backpack correctly (none of that one shoulder stuff).
  • Weigh it: Ensure that the backpack is comfortable with weight in it before letting your child go to school with a new backpack. Periodically put it on a scale. A child’s full backpack should never way more than about 10-15% of their total body weight.

Blues Busters

Do your kids have the school blues? Extracurricular activities are a great attitude booster and have numerous benefits for your child’s health, growth, and character. Getting your child involved will help them:

  • Meet new friends and grow interests. Extracurricular activities allow kids to expand their interests and engage in new things feeding their mind. From learning languages, knitting, to soccer they are gaining practical knowledge as well as being active. Meeting people and enjoying an activity boosts confidence and attitude causing students to get better grades and live healthier lifestyles.
  • Get moving! Participating in positive activities prevents your child from participating in negative activities like professional couch sitting, TV watching, and the more serious activities like drugs and underage drinking.
  • Prepare for the future. Encourage your teens especially to start building a list of extracurricular activities.
  • Learn time management and organization. Participating in activities is a great way to teach your child how to balance responsibilities. Just be sure to not overwhelm your child with activities. No one likes to be burned out!

Don’t forget to book your place on the Online Health Coaching Course, starting soon, for more great ideas for your family.

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