Has the novelty of having the kids home from school worn-off – for both you AND the kids?! Yep, it’s that time of year again – the younger half of the household is more restless than usual and getting the blues, while the adults try to downplay their relief! Back-to-School!!
So let’s start with the wake-up. If you don’t own a trumpet but, would still like to get the kids out of bed quickly – Take at least a week to slowly shift your kids’ sleep schedule back to meet their needs: At least 10 hours of sleep for six to eleven year olds and at least 9 hours of sleep for ages twelve and above.
To avoid having your carefully prepared bag lunch find its way immediately into the trash when out of your eyeshot – Make Lunch a Team Effort- When it comes to creating healthy, yet desirable school lunches, the trick is to involve the kids in planning and preparing new lunch ideas. Offer them 2 or 3 healthy options each day. When your child chooses one, ‘team-up’ to make and pack the lunch. Whether it’s spreading on condiments, rolling up tortillas or filling baggies; the effort will give kids a sense of pride when sitting down for a healthy lunch! Together come-up with a collection of favorite sandwiches and offer-up a fresh variety each day of the week. When children become bored of their school lunch favorites, often most of their lunch ends up in the trash instead of their tummies.
Be creative when using basic sandwich staples. Think chicken and corn, ham and avocado, cheese and carrots or cream cheese and jam. While there is no way to ensure that your child is not trading away their food, you are preventing them from buying school lunches which consist of mostly processed food.
TIP 1 – Crunchy nuts make great snacks for older kids.
TIP 2 – Avocado is the perfect substitution for mayo on a sandwich.
TIP 3 – Pack meals in small portions as children tend to snack on several items at once.
And then there’s always the sneaky method of tricking your kids into eating healthier meals. Let’s Play Hide n’ Seek with Veggies! Preschool children consumed nearly twice as many vegetables and 11% fewer calories over the course of a day when researchers at Penn State added pureed vegetables to the children’s favorite foods.
In their study, published July 25, 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers served vegetable-enhanced entrées to 39 children between the ages of 3 and 6 on three separate days. “We incorporated several vegetables into the dishes, including broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes and squash,” said Maureen Spill, a post-doctoral fellow in nutritional sciences and the study’s lead author. “We were pleased to find that the children found the vegetable-enhanced versions to be equally acceptable to the standard recipes.”
According to Spill, the children ate the same amount of food regardless of the vegetable content of the meal. AND they found similar results when they served vegetable-enhanced meals to adults.
OK, even so – you’re not always sure that they’re getting enough balanced nutrition – we’ve got some amazing supplements – specially formulated just for kids!
Like: All-1’s Childrens Formula Vitamins & Minerals Powder which is a whole food powder and allows for better absorption. It’s Hypoallergenic with no colorings, flavorings or sweeteners and contains not only a complete vitamin profile but important chelated minerals and amino acids too!
Or: Flora’s Kinder Love Childrens Multivitamin this formula provides Calcium, Herbal Extracts, B Vitamins and Vitamin C, A, and E making it an ideal multi-vitamin supplement to help maintain all-round health and vitality in children whose diet may be deficient in some of the nutrients they need.
And how about: NutriBalance Children’s Formula which is intended to provide easily assimilated nutrition to support proper mental functioning and gastrointestinal health. It’s loaded with a balance of essential vitamins and minerals – but, it also contains probiotics to assist with digestion and has no yeast, wheat, corn, sugar or dairy products.
-Jeanne Ricks, CHC, AADP