After a long summer break, it’s time for the kids to head back to school and focus on classes, sports and other after-school activities. But as you all get adjusted to the first month of school, it’s a good idea to take a couple of precautionary measures to set them up for a safe, healthy year.
We want to help & make healthy choices easier for families. Here are our top 10 back-to-school health tips to consider.
1.Start the day off right
We suggest that kids begin their day with a meal consisting of eggs/turkey with whole grain toast, fruit and yogurt, or whole grain unsweetened cereal with milk. A winning combination of nutrients will help them feel satisfied until lunch.
2.Nix the added sugar
Added sugar is found in a wide range of food choices, such as cookies, sauces and sugar sweetened beverages. We suggest limiting the intake of these types of food in your kids’ diets as they provide no health benefits.
3.Swap out juice for whole fruit
Eight ounces of regular orange juice contains over 110 calories, the equivalent of almost two oranges. However, kids won’t feel as filled up, as the juice doesn’t contain any fiber. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the calories are worth the vitamins — a single orange provides well over the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and without as high a spike in blood sugar.
4.Pack a healthy snack
If you are packing snacks for your kids, you have a perfect opportunity to include at least one fruit and veggie. You can include fresh fruit (apples, pears, and bananas), greek yogurt, baby carrots with hummus, roasted edamame, and of course, a bottle of water.
Enroll kids in after-school activities and, whenever possible, enjoy a walk or bike ride with them and encourage them to get moving. We’ve noticed that if parents engage in physical activity, their kids will follow along!
6.Set a good sleep schedule
Children should get 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Screens (TV, phone, computer) emit a light that can “wake up the brain” and make sleeping harder, so turn them off an hour before bedtime! Get your child into habits that will make for healthy sleep all year round.
7.Plan activities – and downtime
As we have previously mentioned, it is important to plan out some after school activities. However, be sure that there is downtime every day too, as this is crucial for your child’s mental health. Your child needs time to relax and play no matter what their age!
8.Take charge of TV time
Limit the time that you let your child watch TV, and when you decide to watch TV, make it a family affair. Talk together about what you watch and ask questions after the show ends.
9.Plan to read together everyday
Make a plan to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Doing so reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together.
10.Make the most of their spare time
Enjoy an after- school play date with your kids at least 1 day of the week. Outdoor or in — it doesn’t really matter. Just the change in pace from everyday will make it fun for all and will strengthen family ties!
Did you like those tips? Let us know your thoughts on our social media channels using the hashtag #Back2School – Your opinion counts!