As kids go back to school, this often means a change in schedules for both kids and parents. If you don't have kids at home, the summer to fall transition can still bring schedule changes for you (shorter days ahead and summer trips behind us)... so read on!
Getting back into the swing of the school year can be overwhelming. But I have a checklist and ideas to make sure you get things off on the right foot! There are some key components to look at when you are preparing for a fresh start and new schedules.
That’s what this is all about, right? Setting up a routine is important for your sanity and to allow for a smooth day and week. Does your current routine work for you? Does it work for the family? If your daily schedule isn’t working, then it’s time for a change! Here are some ideas for building a successful routine:
In terms of food, think through your week and see when you can realistically do some meal prep. Is it a couple of batch meals on Sunday? Or making leftovers a couple times a week so you're not scrambling every night to make dinner?
If kids are involved, try having a running list of meals and snacks that they enjoy. Have them pick out a few options each week so they get to be part of the process. This can be helpful for adults too, when you find yourself pondering once again "what's for dinner?".
In terms of exercise, how will your new schedule affect your exercise routine? As days get shorter, will you want to change what time of day you exercise?
Quality sleep is necessary for everyone. We have all had those days where we didn’t get a restful night's sleep and it derailed our day. There are some things you can do to help get the great sleep that you want and need!
Here's where routine comes in again. Decide what time you want bedtime to be (for you and the kids!) and then work backward, especially looking at what time dinner will be (ideally you eat about 3 hours before you go to sleep).
After dinner, turn off screens at least an hour before bed. Wind down with something that is not electronic. Try reading, coloring, a puzzle, or anything that allows the brain to unplug – literally.
Lunches are a hot topic for back-to-school and work. I often am asked about healthy kid-friendly lunch options. Bento lunches are one of my go-tos! Bento boxes have become a trendy lunch choice in the last few years and with good reason. They are a great way to pack a nutritionally well-rounded meal in a fun package.
So what is a bento box? A “bento” or “bento box” is a Japanese lunchbox. What separates it from the classic American sandwich, chips and juice is the attention to detail and the balance of the ingredients. A proper bento lunch is curated with care and should be a complete meal with a variety of tastes, textures, and food groups.
A traditional bento meal typically includes rice, meat or fish, and pickled vegetables. The Japanese are known for their ability to make use of every last bit of space, and lunchboxes are no exception. The meal is packed neatly and tightly into small square or rectangular shape containers, making it easy to transport to work or school.
You can use the ideas and principles of a traditional bento to create a fun and tasty lunch that is kid-approved (they can be fun for adults too!). Use the infographic below to get you started.
Snacks are also top of mind for back to school. Having healthy snacks on hand that the kids (or you 😉) can easily grab will prevent the urge to go for the bag of chips or cupcake.
Here are some great balanced snacks that you can make ahead and have on hand for easy and yummy snacking!
· Apple slices, celery sticks or banana with nut/seed butter
· Seed crackers or carrots with hummus
· Fruit kebabs (load up sticks with fruits like melon, pineapple, grapes and berries)
· Cheese cubes and nuts
· Trail mix
· Grass-fed jerky
There can be a lot to do to get ready for the school year. May these ideas and tips help make that transition easier for you and the whole family!