It’s that time of year again. Back to class! This is the only time of year I see pre-teens at the mall with parents instead of a group of friends. Mom is the one with the wallet, kids. Another tell-tale sign that school starts on Tuesday is seen at the grocery store. I went to pick up some produce yesterday, and there they were. The big bins of processed snacks on sale, plus the sugary juice packets, cookies, fruit gummy packs and all Mac and cheese with the powdered fake cheese.
I know these snacks and lunches are convenient, and I love convenience for sure, but when these kinds of snacks are the only options available for children, they go a bit batty. Since I work in a school I can attest to that. When children are eating too much sugar, or not enough nutrients it affects their energy and ability to focus in class. When their brains are not properly nourished, it is hard to concentrate on reading, writing and arithmetic.
Here are a few tips to start your little one off to a healthy, happy school year.
- Children are visual little people. They like when things look cute, inviting and fun. You will be surprised the difference of putting those fresh blueberries or grapes in a Cars, Frozen or Superman container will make.
- Get creative. Put a little imagination into their lunch boxes. A dinosaur shaped sandwich is so much more fun to eat than a plan old sandwich. Just take a look at this Easter inspired cheese sandwich that Caelum’s mom made last year:
So cute even I wanted to eat it!
- Get your child(ren) involved in the snack and lunch prepping. From making the grocery list, to packing the vegetables in containers and the cooking under supervision. Children love to be a part of what they will eat. Ask them what they like or dislike. I once had a child who came to school everyday with perogies. I was supervising his lunchroom area one week, and everyday those perogies went in the garbage. When I asked him why, his reply was, “I don’t like them and mommy keeps giving me this!” I couldn’t blame him. I would not be happy to have no option except something I disliked.
- Add a little dip. I have seen that those carrot sticks, celery or cucumbers are enjoyed a lot more with a little hummus or salad dressing.
- Lastly, be a good example. Let your little one(s) see you enjoying healthy foods. They are likely to follow suit. A healthy diet will also build of their immunity and help when those bugs are circulating around class.
Have a great school year! I’m ready for Tuesday and getting back in the swing of things.