It is that time of year when kids are going back-to-school or starting home-school. That means more stress, meal planning and busy days ahead! Here are some ways to make back-to-school less stressful and healthier.
It is important not to use plastic when packing lunches to reduce toxic exposures to BPA (including bags!). Even BPA free lunch boxes aren’t the best option since it is linked to more body fat and health problems in kids. I prefer stainless steel like these (affiliate link) – https://amzn.to/2Z3wA6H
I also suggest stainless steel water bottles to avoid plastics. These are a great size for kids and come in a 2 pack – Thermoflasks. (affiliate link) – https://amzn.to/2KyOXfW
My recommendation is to make it simple. Growing up I ate the EXACT same lunch everyday… the type of sandwich varied pb&j or lunch meat… but the EXACT same thing and I SURVIVED! Here are some great ideas to keep things simple:
MIX and MATCH LUNCHES
- Pick one thing from each category:
- A protein – Grilled or baked chicken or turkey, lean beef or pork, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and plant proteins, such as seed butters.
- A vegetable – carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and broccoli. You can also include guacamole or hummus to dip.
- A fruit – From sliced apples, kiwi, grapes, watermelon, cucumber or even better a fruit salad with variety.
- A fat- Guacamole or avocado, pumpkin or sunflower seeds (since a lot of schools don’t allow nuts), coconut, or olives.
DAY of WEEK Lunch:
- Another strategy is to have the same meal on the same day. You can change it from month to month to add variety, but the goal is you can still cook in bulk and freeze the portions needed.
- EXAMPLES: Monday– Soups or Chili Tuesday– Homemade Burritos (Make in bulk and FREEZE) Wednesday– Sandwhich/ Wrap or Thursday– Meatballs & “Pasta” Friday– Crackers & Cheese
- This allows there to be a day to day variety while still allowing you to cook in bulk!
- Don’t forget to pack the fruits and veggies.
A lot of schools have snack time. Here are some easy, yet healthy ideas that aren’t goldfish crackers or high sugar fruit snacks. Since most schools are nut and tree nut free here are some acceptable options. Developing brains need quality nutrients!
- Sliced apples
Bars – Made Good Bars (affiliate link) – https://amzn.to/2KyK86d
Hippeas (they come in individual packs)
Boosting The Immune System:
Back-to-school can mean more germs and illnesses. It is so important to have a boosted immune system for the whole family. This means proper gut-health since 80% of your immune system is in your gut. And remember stress depresses the immune system. My recommendation is to take a quality probiotic of at least 30 billion CFU’s. I like Prodegin by Klaire Labs which is a chewable that I carry in the office.
Omegas are SUPER important for good brain health and cognition. Make sure you pick one that is from wild caught fish and has a good DHA count for excellent brain health.
Adding elderberry syrup to your routine can also help boost the immune system. You can easily make your own recipe from the Wellness Mama – https://wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup/ You can get elderberries online or at Natural Grocers.
Don’t forget how important sleep is. Kids that are overtired often act as if they’re not tired, resisting bedtime and become more hyper as the evening goes on. Make sure you have a consistent, soothing, wind-down routine. This means no screen time.
Here are the sleep recommendations from the sleepfoundation.org.
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range 10-13 hours
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range 7-8 hours
I hope you have a great start to the school year!
In Health and Happiness,