Back to School Healthy Eating Solutions
Back to school health habits for children
It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. No, not Christmas or some other holiday—you’re thinking small. It’s back to school time. Soon those little goblins that used to be your children before summer transformed them will be back to their desks and out of your hair for seven glorious hours everyday. What could go wrong?
Well, one thing that could go wrong and can easily be overlooked is your kids’ eating habits. Although summer is typically thought of as the free-for-all season when it comes to watching what we eat, having a break from daily grind activities actually allows for some mealtime structure and boundaries to form. Once fall is in full swing and you’re toting the kids from school to soccer practice, dance class to a sleepover and every other chaotic combination under the sun, the opportunity for poor eating decisions creeps in. It’s just easier to bounce from activity to activity with a Mc-Something-Greasy in between than it is to try to have a healthy meal.
So what do you do? Do you force your kids to drop everything so they can come home and eat dinner every night? That’s probably not the best solution. Your kids need to be active and involved in extracurriculars to stay healthy, expand their minds and develop social skills. There’s no easy balance, but there are ways to keep their diets in check while also allowing them to enjoy their many hobbies.
1. Start with a nutritious breakfast. You’ve heard before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now while that’s debatable, there’s no doubt that it’s important and that having a healthy one every day will do wonders for improving your day. Eating breakfast helps burn calories throughout the day and keep blood sugar in check. Studies also show that teenagers who don’t eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to develop obesity in adulthood.
2. Pack your kids a healthy lunch. As healthy as schools may attempt to make their lunches, there are usually plenty of bad options available to kids who purchase lunch at school. Eliminate that temptation by packing your kids’ lunches instead. Yes, it takes more time. But it’s definitely worth it to ensure the health of your children and to instill good eating habits in them while you have the chance.
3. Pre-prep your dinners. Get dinner as close to ready as possible during the weekend so that it’s easy to get your busy family fed during the weekdays. Another process that takes quite a bit of time. No matter how you slice it, this one isn’t going to be quick and easy. However, if you make a serious effort you can make it not quite so tedious. Pick a day on the weekend when the whole family is available and make it a group activity. Everyone can pitch in and be a part of the meal-making process. Not only will it be a good bonding time for the family, but it will also help teach your kids valuable skills they will use in the future. Nobody wants the college roommate who doesn’t know how to preset the oven.