Kicking off a Healthy New School Year
Updated: Sep 13, 2017
It's that time of year again- back to school! If you're like me, you cringe at the thought of the early morning breakfast rush, packing lunches, and homework(ugh!). This is a great time to clean out your fridge and pantry and start over with healthier food options. With a little planning and prepwork, though, you can have healthy breakfasts and lunches ready to go in the morning(sorry, can't help you with the homework part!).
Giving your kiddos high nutrient foods with plenty of healthy fats and protein will not only help them power through their school day- no hunger pangs at 10:00 am or falling asleep during afternoon history class- but will improve attention spans and boost their immunity so they can fight off those inevitable nasty cold and flu viruses. Popular "breakfast foods" such as cereals, bagels, frozen waffles, and Pop Tarts are never a good way to start off your day!
Good sleep habits are so important, too. Enforce a rule about shutting off phones/devices one hour before bedtime and be firm about it. The blue light emitted from devices interferes with our sleep patterns. Buy blue blocking glasses for them to use in the evenings, or install blue light filters on the devices. Children should not keep their devices in their rooms, either. Put in airplane mode and put them on the kitchen counter for the night to minimize EMF exposure. The low level radiation emitted disrupts melatonin production. We need a stress-free environment for sleep because this is when our bodies repair themselves.
Let's start with breakfast! My kids aren't big breakfast eaters first thing in the morning, so we keep it pretty simple. Spending a little time Sunday afternoon prepping food and snacks can be a big timesaver. You can make egg muffins or grain free breakfast bars/muffins. Protein smoothies are a great way to get nutrients in your kids and they can drink them on the way to the bus stop or in the car. Get them on board by having them decide what fruits and veggies to put in, then give them quart size ziploc bags and make individual "smoothie packs". In the morning just toss the contents of their bag into the blender, add whole milk or full fat coconut milk, yogurt, protein powder, and a little honey or maple syrup if desired. If you can, sneak in 1/2 an avocado(which adds healthy fat and makes smoothies creamy), or a pastured raw egg yolk to boost the nutrition. Egg yolks are nature's vitamins! Eggs contain all the B vitamins, especially choline, vitamins A, D, E, & K, the minerals selenium and iodine (needed for thyroid health), and anti-inflammatory Omega 3s.
For lunches, have your kids make a list of their favorite foods that are easy to pack. Take them to the supermarket and walk around the produce department picking out the veggies/fruits they like. When my younger daughter started kindergarten I volunteered to help during their lunch period. School lunches leave a lot to be desired, but even some of the kids' packed lunches weren't so good either. I never saw veggies, very little fresh fruit, and a lot of Lunchables and lowfat kids' yogurts! Their lunches should be made of whole, unprocessed foods low in sugar and rich in protein and good fats.
Some ideas for a real food kids lunch:
Deli meat rolled up with cheese
Leftover roast/grilled chicken or homemade chicken nuggets
Uncured pepperoni, cheese with almond flour crackers
Meatballs or meatloaf muffins
Hard boiled eggs
Organic full fat yogurt-buy plain yogurt and mix a natural sweetener in, such as chopped nuts, chia or hemp seeds, unsweetened coconut
Cut up fresh veggies and fruit-see my recipes for healthy dip ideas
Paleo energy bars or power balls
For a treat, a piece of dark chocolate, homemade gummies, or a grain free, refined sugar free cookie are good options.
Also, skip the juice boxes and lowfat chocolate milk. Give them a fun water bottle instead! There are a lot of lunch box containers to choose from now, too, that make packing lunches easy. I like Lunch Bots and Planet Box. These are stainless steel divided containers. Plastic bento boxes are great too, just buy ones that are BPA-free.
Check out my recipes for breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas! You can also go to my Pinterest page https://www.pinterest.com/inspiredwellnessntp/. I have tons of recipes saved to my boards that your kids will love!