Back To School Tips For Parents

We are getting closer to the school season starting again, believe it or not! Here are some healthful tips to keep you and your children on track..

  1. Stock up on basics: Peanut butter and jelly is a great brown bag lunch staple, so why not stock up? Peanut butter usually stays dry and fresh for a year and most sales are in August.
  2. Schedule play time before homework time: Children need to get physical activity before they get their brains active. After being in school all day, it’s best to let them play and then go on to finish their homework!
  3. Make a cup of tea: An Australian study found that drinking passion fruit herbal tea increases sleep quality, so share a cup with your children after dinner.
  4. Let the kids play chef: In order for kids to be comfortable around nutritious food at an early age, parents need to make healthy eating fun.
  5. Take a morning breather: Each weekday morning, find time to connect with your children to release them from any stress or anxiety they may be going through. Or, simply spend and enjoy an extra few minutes with them!
  6. Celebrate the first day of school: Make your family’s favorite breakfast in the morning or go out for ice cream after school. Make the first day a celebration rather than something to dread.
  7. Choose brain food, not junk food: A late night healthy snack that children can enjoy is frozen fruit. Freezing yogurt and a combination of fresh fruits on a Popsicle stick makes a delicious treat!
  8. Figure out meals in advance: Track down the school’s menu for the week ahead and decide what meals are okay to eat and what days you should pack a lunch.
  9. Practice what you preach: Often times, we don’t think children are looking at the way parents take care of themselves. Children look up to their parents– and the way they eat and exercise can have a big impact on what they think is wrong or right.
  10. Don’t emotionally grocery shop: Make sure your children don’t talk you into buying something that isn’t the healthiest option or what you had in mind to buy. Make a list before shopping and make sure to only buy what is on that list!

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The Affect of School Foods on Children

About 17% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are children being fed well in schools? By changing food policies in school facilities at an affordable price, will this help with childhood and adolescent obesity?

Michelle Obama has made new nutrition rules for school meals to help with the high rate of childhood obesity. Schools must offer more vegetables, fruits and whole grains however, there is concern about the cost of these fresh foods. For the first time, the Department of Agriculture is setting calorie limits on school cafeteria meals. For example, for kindergarteners through fifth grade, lunch meals must contain no more than 650 calories on average. This limit goes up to 700 calories for grades six through eigth grade and 850 for calories for grades 9-12.

Schools that participate in these lunch and breakfast programs next school year, won’t be able to serve whole milk and must offer non-fat milk. Flavored milk will also only be available if it is non-fat. This is geared toward lowering the amount of saturated fat a child consumes during the day. One source of saturated fat the agency wasn’t able to cut down on is the french fry. Schools will be required to offer students ¾ to one cup of vegetables, plus ½ to one cup of fruit, a day. That is about double the amount they have been required to offer. However, students will only be required to put about half that amount on their trays in fear of children simply throwing away what wasn’t wanted. Also, by the 2014-15 school year, all grain products must be whole-grain, the agency said.

I believe that this is a wonderful step in the right direction. Of course school costs will go up, but in the end it will be worth it if it could help fight against childhood obesity. In the long run, these small steps can teach children the proper way to eat and get into the habit of putting nutrient dense foods into their bodies rather than high fat, high sugary foods.

Wouldn’t it be great to stop childhood obesity? Do you think this a step in the right direction? Thoughts? Comments?