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Summer Habits Die Hard

Monday, September 22, 2014

School days are upon the parents of the Fox Valley once again, and hectic schedules and hurried meals admittedly become standard for many of us. Adjusting to new schedules can take time, and often, important things like eating healthy can fall to the wayside… that McDonald’s cheeseburger is just so cheap and convenient and yummy…

Summer habits die hard, but plain and simple, our kids NEED healthy foods throughout their day, both at school and at home. Did you know that children with healthy diets perform better in school than those with unhealthy diets? True story: it was reported in a study published by the Journal of School Health. 

Both kids (and adults, too) don’t just perform better, but FEEL better when health-conscious decisions are made.  Starting them off in the morning with a balanced breakfast is key to getting the day kicked off on the right foot. Skipping breakfast can affect alertness, attention, and memory in the morning hours. If your child wants to ace math and science, start with acing breakfast!

Packing a healthy lunch and nutritious snacks is equally is important. Remember, you want to send your kids with lunch they will actually eat, rather than swap for the greasy pizza or fried chicken in the lunchroom, or even worse… throw in the garbage! Avoid the temptations of packing candy bags and Fritos by keeping them out of the house altogether. It’s hard to eat an entire box of Oreos in one sitting (not like I’ve done that before…) if they’re not in the cabinet.

Make time for planned family dinners. Almost any meal prepared from scratch at home is healthier than processed frozen food or takeout. Hungry for pizza? Use low fat cheese and a whole-wheat crust. Craving chicken? Grab a rotisserie. Don’t forget- any vegetable tastes delicious when its sautéed in a bit of olive oil and garlic, or thrown on the grill. 

Often, it’s a miracle just to get my daughter, Raine, showered, dressed, teeth brushed, backpack packed, and out of the door on time every morning. I get the struggles of “back to school life”. But, I also get the concept of feeding your family well, and how important it is to the growth, development, and learning process of our children. Start making changes now, however gradual they need to be, and set the scene for the rest of the school year, and in turn the rest of their lives. After all, college is just around the corner…