It’s a new school year; many of us look at September as being a good time to start doing things differently. For years I felt as though making my girls’ lunches at night was too exhausting, after having cooked or prepared meals for them all day long. This September, I started making their lunches, while preparing their dinner. The kitchen has been messier than ever but I realized that this is the time in which I have the most energy and when I can be most efficient, as much of the food is already out of the fridge. Why I ever thought that putting the girls to bed and then heading downstairs to make their lunches was a good idea, I will never understand. And the years I spent rushing around each morning, making their lunches, are also over. It feels good to actually sit with my girls on a school day and partake in eating breakfast with them. And what a beautiful start to the day for each of us. So, what are you going to do differently this school year? Here are 8 back to school ideas to provide your children with more nutrition and hopefully keep your world more sane overall:
1. Ensure your child has a healthy protein source (e.g. turkey bacon, eggs, nut butter, nut milk, yogurt, goat cheese) and a starch (e.g. oatmeal, spelt/kamut/rice bagel or toast, cereal) each morning to regulate their blood sugar. When their blood sugar is where it needs to be, your child will usually be in a good mood, can concentrate for long periods of time and remain energetic.
2. Ensure your child has a protein source every 2-3 hours, throughout the day, to keep their blood sugar stable at all times. Don’t forget to incorporate legumes in your child’s diet – another excellent protein source e.g. chickpeas, lentils, green peas and beans.
3. Be aware of portion sizes. One serving, is the size of your child’s palm without the fingers. That is a serving of protein, fruits, vegetables etc. Imagine going to a restaurant and them serving you a steak the size of your palm? You would feel as though you had been ripped off! But really that is all we need of any particular type of food at any one sitting.
4. Use a Thermos (Thermos is a brand name that is the best at keeping your food hot or cold) in your child’s lunch to increase the variety of foods you serve them; e.g., chili, chicken noodle soup, pasta with chicken sausage, shepherd’s pie – see my book for simple recipes).
5. Give your child acidophilus, fish oils and vitamin C to keep their intestines healthy, strengthen their immune systems and increase their brain power.
6. Have food sensitivity testing done on your child (I offer this if you live in or near Aurora) so that you can temporarily remove the foods that are weakening your child’s body.
7. If you know your child is one that takes a while to get out of bed once awoken, wake him or her up earlier than your other child, as opposed to starting out each day nagging your child to get out of bed.
8. Take more time to get organized. Along with proper nutrition, good organization is the key to our family’s lives running more smoothly. Put a magnetic chalkboard up in your kitchen and write what needs to be done that day on the board, for all to see that morning at breakfast. You can list the one or two chores that each child needs to do that night after school, the extra-curricular activity/ies for that evening and anything else that matters to your family.
And remember to hug your children and show them that you love them each and every day – that is of the utmost importance. I remember when my eldest started school for the first time. She thought she was never going to get to return home again – yes, that is what she thought. On her second day of school, I drew a heart on the palm of her hand and suggested that she look at it whenever she wanted to remind her that she was very loved and that I was excited for her to come home to me at the end of each school day. It’s amazing the comfort that small efforts bring to our little ones… and to the bigger ones in our lives too. And when we feel loved, well, that is absolutely the greatest nutrition we could possibly receive.
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Until next time,