Back to School: Tips to Make a Healthy Transition
by Vanessa Masters
Although it can be difficult to get back into a routine, there are a number of tips and tricks to make the back-to-school transition easier for the whole family.
Have healthy ready-to-go snacks:
- Wash and cut vegetables and fruit and place them in small containers.
- Make your own trail mix with dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpeas, popcorn, sunflower seeds, and pretzels. Make whole grain muffins or granola bars ahead of time and freeze them individually.
Use dinner leftovers as part of the next day’s lunch:
- Try doubling recipes when you are making dinner. Use leftover meat like chicken to make lunchtime wraps for added protein.
Get the kids involved:
- Younger children can help by adding snacks to their lunch bags
- Older children can help wash fruit and vegetables
- Make a meal plan as a family so that kids are more eager to help and you are less likely to have unfinished meals.
Stay hydrated while on the go:
- Have a reusable water bottle with you at your desk and carry it with you in your car or bag and refill it throughout the day from almost anywhere.
- Pack a frozen water bottle in your child’s lunch to help keep food cold and it will be available to drink throughout the afternoon.
- Add a water bottle to sports so you can refill it and stay hydrated during your activities.
Once all your food is prepared and you are ready to take on the school year, there are number of tips to stay active as a family:
Make a schedule to start every month/week:
- Include a chore schedule that involves everyone in the family.
- Get into a night time routine that includes playing a family board game or reading a book together. (Try something without a screen as phone or computer light makes it harder to fall asleep.)
- Post the schedule where the family can see it.
Schedule in physical activities to avoid getting caught up on the computer or in front of the TV:
- Have children pick weekly organized activities they enjoy like soccer, gymnastics, or dance.
- Explore nearby hiking trails and remember to pack healthy snacks and water and to dress in layers.
- Go to a park as a family and go down the slide, play on the swing, or bring a ball and invent a game as a family.