With fall quickly approaching, children and family’s are preparing to head back to school. After the long dog days of summer this can be a shock to a families schedule. But with a few small choices you can stay on your course to optimal health.
- Do as much as possible the night before. This will ensure you are not rushed in the morning. Breakfast is the one thing you don’t want to cut out of your schedule to make up time. Eat something that is easy to prepare for breakfast. Starting your day with a healthy choice will help you stay on track all day long. A hard boiled egg and a 1/2 whole wheat English muffin can be a great on the go breakfast. Also, a meal replacement shake or bar make great on the go companions
- Pack healthy snacks in your purse, briefcase or car. Healthy options you can bring from home can include almonds, fruit, meal replacement shakes and bars. Fueling between meals helps to prevent getting hungry and over eating at a later meal. If you have access to a refrigerator during the day bring yogurt, cheese cubes, baby carrots, celery sticks and all natural peanut butter.
- Stock your house with nothing but healthy foods and snacks for kids. When you have junk food around it can be too tempting for little one who want an after school snack. Fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and veggies are all great options.
- Plan meals and grocery shop ahead of time. Include a couple good old standbys on your weekly menu. Your family doesn’t expect a gourmet meal every night. Pick 3 easy to prepare, healthy meals that you can cook in under 30 minutes such as Mesquite Grilled Shrimp and Sirloin & Vegetable Kabobs (see recipes here).
- Delegate…assign children age appropriate tasks to keep them involved and help get dinner started. Ask your teen to start chopping the veggies, your pre-teen to help gather needed ingredients and place them on the counter and get the little ones involved in setting the table and folding napkins. Children take pride in being a part of a meal and will be more likely to eat what is in front of them if they feel invested.
- Turn off the TV during dinner. This acts as a two for one benefit for your family. Not only do you tend to eat less when you are mindful of your plate but you also have the opportunity to find out how your children are adjusting to the school year. Don’t forget if teens and pre-teens aren’t as open as you would like them to be, don’t pressure them to talk, watch for non-verbal cues and trust your instincts, after all you have known them their whole lives.
- Don’t over book…by keeping one weekday afternoon free it gives your children time to relax and recharge. It can also provide time to catch up or get ahead on school work which can help keep stress levels down.