2) Go for lean proteins with fresh fruits and veges for lunches and snacks. Skip the chips, sodas, candy and empty calories. Vending machines are not an option. Even protein bars that look healthy are often full of sugar and preservatives, so read the labels. It’s best to bring your own food!
3) Look for environmentally friendly food containers now. There are tremendous products on the market that make eating healthy on the go easy and fun, for both kids and adults. Rather than plastic sandwich and snack bags, go reusable...check out Lunchskins and Snack TAXI.
4) Get creative. Scan magazines and websites for new recipes. As an example, cashew, almond or other protein-rich nut butters on a sandwich with a side of banana or apple is so yummy! Plus no refrigeration needed. Consider that the food with the least amount of packaging and ingredients is usually the healthiest.
5) Take a whole-food based multivitamin (at the least) to ensure your body is getting what it needs. You may need extra B vitamins, omegas, calcium, magnesium, niacin...you never know. Read about supplements and don’t be afraid to try natural remedies.
6) Stay hydrated. Water keeps our brains and immune systems in top shape which is super important during the busy school year. Get a good metal water bottle (like Klean Kanteen or similar) and skip the plastic disposable ones. Filtered water right from the sink is the way to go.
7) Develop a schedule for exercise and fresh air that works with the school schedule. It may be an early morning walk or a bit of yoga, maybe just some gentle stretching and a few pushups or sit ups. For kids, after-school activities are great, but even kicking the soccer ball around in the yard can release restless energy.
8) Begin the “early to bed, early to rise” routine now rather than waiting until classes begin. Avoid caffeinated drinks, stimulating activities and TV before bed. Set the mood with low lighting, quiet music, a bath or a cup of tea and a good book. Developing a bedtime ritual can really help settle the brain and ready the body for a restful night’s sleep.
9) To prepare your spirit for the school year, find a quiet spot and begin slow deep breathing. Get comfortable. Try sitting on a pillow with your back against a wall for gentle support. Next, think about going back to school. Do you feel anxious? excited? Whatever feelings come up, just notice them and allow yourself to experience them.
Do your feelings relate to certain sensations in the body? Maybe a little jittery stomach or tightened jaw or throat? Again, continue just noticing and breathing. You can use this technique any time you feel stressed during the school year too. Sometimes sitting 5 minutes is all that’s needed to clear your head and find peace of mind. You can guide a child using this simple technique to help them release fear and anxiety.
10) Accept that it is natural to feel uncertain and a little off balance at the start of a new school year. But you can also shift your focus to the positive side of things. Take a few moments each day to feel gratitude for this opportunity for growth and development (kids are naturally good at this, so encourage them too!) Imagine this new school year as a happy, healthy, fun, enriching experience in which to explore and thrive.