It’s back-to-school time! This can work for or against your family’s healthy habits. Schedules can get very hectic very quickly, especially with after-school activities taking away the time you had during the summer holidays to prepare meals, sit down together, exercise, etc., which means these may all go out the window. Or maybe a schedule provides you with a more structured timetable to enable some of these things back into your day. Whichever it is for you, here are some useful reminders to make sure you and your loved ones are enjoying your best health.
Sleep – This is more often than not one of the first things to go. It is imperative that you and your children still get your sleep, and into a regular pattern every night. Not getting enough sleep during the week, and then playing catch up during the weekend, does not work well for your body. It will affect everything: you and your family’s moods, energy, ability to study and to pay attention. It will also affect everyone’s food cravings making you all reach out for sugar/bad carbs. This can have bad consequences for weight and health. Treat sleep as the foundation stone for your family’s health…and sanity! Quickly get onto a schedule and stick to it.
Breakfast – Make sure you and your family have breakfast. This is imperative for your children’s ability to learn and kick starts your metabolism and energy levels, ‘setting the bar’ for what you crave the rest of the day. So make sure it’s healthy all around! Eggs, fruit, whole-wheat toast, low sugar and high protein cereal with low fat milk or smoothies provide protein and good carbs for all. Microwave egg poachers or omelet makers are great for ease and speed!
Lunches – Do you know what your child is eating at school? If not, find out! If you pack their lunch, are they eating it? Or are they sharing and swapping with friends? Make sure what you pack is healthy. Healthy sandwiches made with whole-wheat bread and good quality protein (chicken, turkey, ham, tuna, eggs, tofu, and low fat cheese) are good to include. Other items to include are salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt, fruit, and fruit sticks.
Do you know what your lunch is going to be? Maybe plan it over the weekend so you can bring it in. This will save you money and ensure that you eat healthy. You could make up individual salads or take dinner leftovers to heat up. Find the nearest food court/salad bar with healthy options. If you leave it to chance you’ll be more open to the nearest temptation.
Snacks – Make sure you and your children have healthy snacks handy. Some choices include low sugar yogurt, nuts, fruit, or fruit sticks.
Dinners – Is this something you can plan during the weekend? Make a large casserole to last during the week? Bake a chicken/turkey? Stock up your freezer with veggies, fish portions, and fruit. Get large salads from the grocery store salad bar so you have one for the week. Get a slow cooker or a George Forman grill. There are all sorts of kitchen appliances to make life easier and quicker.
Exercise – Back to school can often mean you have to change your own exercise routine, maybe to early mornings or later in the evening. Even if it’s less duration, but more frequent during the week, try to get it in. It helps with so many things both mentally and physically. Maybe pick up your favorite classes on the weekend. Parents can take it in turns to look after children, and gyms of course have crèches.
Being organized is a huge part of being healthy. Don’t leave things to chance– that’ll lead to unhealthy choices, because it’s quick n’ easy! Prep your environment so that the easiest, and healthiest, option is staring you in the face when you get home. Otherwise, pizza etc. will creep on in! Plan it! Prep it! Stick to it! Organization is key when schedules are tight! This will lead to a healthy, and happier, household!
Dawn Peters, of Naked Health, is an international coach and personal development veteran turned entrepreneur, mentor, and speaker. Through her ‘Mind-Body-Food Coaching Solution’ she facilitates, motivates, and inspires others to develop and maintain healthier eating and lifestyle habits. You can reach Dawn by email at [email protected] or call 877.653.4584. More at www.NakedHealth.com