As the summer comes to an end and fall schedules and routines start up again, it can be an overwhelming time for both kids and parents. Extensive allergy-free and zero-waste requirements for foods and packaging can leave parents heads spinning, while earlier bedtimes can do a number on kids.
So I’m dishing out my top tips to help give your little ones the best nutrition, supplements and routine possible so that they can put their best foot forward when it comes to going back to school.
Packed Lunches that Keep Your Kids Fueled
Packing lunches and snacks can be overwhelming for parents. You want to give your kids the best nutrition possible to keep them performing throughout the day. Most schools have a no-nut policy, and many have even extended their allergy policies to include things wheat, dairy, and eggs. This make things extremely difficult for parents who want to prepare quick meals for their kids without overthinking it.
To keep things simple, I always opt for nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruit and protein. It’s also great to add a healthy treat for your kids. My rule of thumb is to always include:
- Lean protein
- Healthy fat
- A complex carbohydrate
- Lots of veggies and fruits
A great example of this would be a gluten-free wrap with organic slice chicken, vegan cheese or avocado, and lots of lettuce and tomato and a side of strawberries and carrots.
With nut allergies, shopping for allergen-free snacks can be a challenge, so to make things easier, I visit my local health food store, Healthy Planet as these types of stores offer tones of allergen-free snack options for kids. For example, some of my favourite snacks include Freeyum Cookies which are delicious and are completely allergen free as well as Enjoy Life chips which are amazing because they’re made with lentils for extra protein, but taste like chips, so you’re sneaking even more healthy nutrients into your kid’s diets.
Packing food for freshness and sustainability
Another thing that parents should be mindful of is whether to not their kid’s schools have a zero-waste policy and how to pack lunches and snacks that abide by it. Being mindful of the packaging and plastics that accompany your child’s food is also important for their health and well-being as it reduces their exposure to toxins. Buying BPA free reusable storage containers like the Eco Lunch Box line of products is a great way to not only a great way to keep chemicals away from your child’s food, but helps you play an important part in environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Another question I get a lot from parents is “do kids need to take a vitamins and supplements?” I believe that the answer is yes, especially when you have picky eaters. Including a multivitamin is a great way to ensure that your kids are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. Another supplement that I recommend is Omega-3. Studies show that kids who take an Omega-3 supplement show signs of improved cognition, memory and better mood than those that don’t. Lastly, I would recommend a vitamin D supplement otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, especially if you live in a place like Canada, where you’re naturally deficient in it, due to our lack of sun exposure. Vitamin D is important for bone growth and development, which is essential right now as they’re in the growing phase of their life.
Lastly, when it comes to back to school, parents aren’t the only ones who are stressed out this can also be an extremely stressful time for kids too. Which is why it’s essential to help them get into their back to school routine early (I recommend two weeks prior to starting school) to help them manage their stress. They are so sensitive and can get
as frantic as we do with all the extracurricular activities, but doing things like setting a
bedtime 1-2 weeks before school starts so it will be easier to get up and get everyone out the door will go a long way.
Making bedtime a relaxing experience with lavender bath soap and lotions is also a great way to help them calm down at the end of the day and get into a restful state. If your kids are feeling anxious the first week, another great option is to give them a fizzy magnesium drink before bed to help them relax. Sleep is crucial for kids to restore and revitalize their bodies, and will help with better performance, so the more you can prioritize it, the better overall experience your kids will have.
For all these products mentioned and more, visit Healthy Planet or go online to Healthyplanetcanada.com
With love and nut butter,