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5 tips for a simple, healthy back-to-school experience

by Naturopathes de La Boite à Grains 05 Jun 2024 0 comments
5 trucs pour un retour à l’école simple et sain - La Boite à Grains

The start of the new school year marks a return to routine and healthy habits. However, switching from vacation mode to the school setting can be unsettling for children and parents alike.

Here are 5 things you can do to make back-to-school easier and healthier.

Back to school: Focus on a breakfast balanced

The importance of small breakfast is crucial for every member of the family. To sustain energy, concentration and mood throughout the day, a well-balanced breakfast balanced meal should consist of a combination of carbohydrates (whole grains or fresh fruit), proteins and healthy fats. In this way, a breakfast balanced meal can be made up of :

The smoothie is also an excellent choice. By preparing a large quantity of smoothie, children will have an extra portion for their morning snack. By avoiding foods that turn brown, such as apples, bananas and avocados, the smoothie will retain its beautiful color, making it more appetizing to little ones.

If your child is not a fan of fruit and vegetables, a chocolate smoothie is an interesting option. The child's taste buds can be tantalized by all-in-one smoothies. By blending milk, cocoa and a portion of Vega One complete chocolate smoothiethe result is similar to chocolate milk, but enhanced with protein, greens, healthy fats, probiotics, fiber and antioxidants.

Back to school: Establish a routine

Children are creatures of routine. They find a sense of security and comfort in the repetitive actions of everyday life.1

The start of the school year is an ideal time to establish a new routine. With days filled with a succession of tasks and actions to be carried out, children can become lost in a hectic daily routine. However, a routine in which the same actions are carried out in the same order makes it easier for children to understand and cooperate. What's more, routine can counter anxiety by enabling children to orient themselves in a predictable and reassuring daily routine.1

Ideally, the routine should be determined as a family, taking everyone's needs into account. Once it has been established, it can be visualized using pictograms or images.

Back to school: Planning lunches

To facilitate the process, lunches should be prepared as a family. When the pantry is well stocked and the refrigerator organized, children can easily locate attractive ingredients.

Even small children can choose from three different snacks. Children who are very active or have difficulty concentrating may need an extra snack. It's important to be on the lookout: if the snack box always comes back empty, it may be a sign that the child needs an extra snack. 

To facilitate lunchtime logistics, a dish can be prepared in large quantities and divided into a few portions. Pasta salad, macaroni, soup or fried rice are all examples of lunches that can be served during the week.

For sandwich enthusiasts, a designated sandwich compartment in the fridge will facilitate handling. A basket filled with bread, meat (or non-meat) condimentslettuce and sprouts will reduce preparation time.  

Back to school: Back home

Children are always hungry when they get home. Research in France has shown that children's metabolism and energy expenditure are higher than those of top athletes. The afternoon snack therefore fills a significant nutritional need, as well as offering a moment of comfort and calm in a reassuring context.2

Our favorite idea? Homemade popcorn! Contrary to popular belief, popcorn is a healthy, nutritious snack. Rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, the key to maintaining popcorn's exceptional benefits is to avoid microwave popcorn. By preparing a large quantity yourself and storing it in an airtight bag or container, children will have a fun and appealing snack every day when they get home from school.

Back to school: Allocate "down" time

Who doesn't want some downtime at the end of a long day's work? Just a few minutes to think about yourself?

Children have the same deep-rooted need. They just can't express it clearly. When children lack "dead" time to explore their imagination, creativity, interests and even boredom, they can develop aggressive, obsessive or anxious behaviors.4

In a society where days fly by at lightning speed and evenings are quickly filled with lessons, supper and activities, we must dare to impose a healthy rhythm of life where dead time is perceived as a blessing and not a punishment. An overly busy schedule that leaves no space for children to explore solitude can compromise their emotional well-being and family ties.4 So we need to be very selective about extracurricular activities, and ask ourselves whether they really enhance the child's life.

 

La Boîte à Grains wishes you an excellent back-to-school season! For more tips and ideas, come and try our back-to-school snacks and attend our workshops! On September 22, we'll be holding a family day with back-to-school-themed tastings, games and workshops. The day is free and open to all families! More details here.

 

Happy back-to-school!

About the author

Naturopaths of La Boite à Grains

Team of licensed and certified naturopaths (ND) in Gatineau, Outaouais.

Original article written by Véronique Cousineau, Naturopath

Sources

1: Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services, Port Melbourne. The Importance of Routine in Childhood.

2: Birat A, Bourdier P, Piponnier E, Blazevich AJ, Maciejewski H, Duché P and Ratel S (2018) Metabolic and Fatigue Profiles Are Comparable Between Prepubertal Children and Well-Trained Adult Endurance Athletes. Front. Physiol. 9:387. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00387

3: Snacks, popcorn, air popped nutrition facts and calories. Nutrition Data.

4: Payne, K. and Ross, L. (2010). Simplicity parenting. New York: Ballantine Books Trade Paperbacks.

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