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As a mother of two extremely picky eaters, I need all the nutritional assistance I can get.  The 'Today I Ate A Rainbow' sy...

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- Aidan Johannesson-

Rainbow Blog

19 Aug 2013

Healthy Back to School Tips

posted by: Kia

This blog post is part of the Better Back to School Brigade, by David Suzuki’s Queen of Green, which is a coalition of eco-bloggers and advocates who are dedicated to creating healthy learning environments for our kids. It’s such a thrill to be asked to be a part of this community. 

Back to School time is ideal for setting healthy habits for your whole family. It’s a time for fresh starts – it’s almost like a second New Years! My daughter is going into grade 5 this year so we’ve had some experience in the whole back to school scene.

First Days of School

First Days of School

Here are my top ten tips for a healthy start:

1. Create Traditions. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or time consuming. Perhaps it’s a special meal at a favorite restaurant the night before school starts, or reading The Kissing Hand in the morning before your child heads out door. Maybe you write encouraging words on sticky notes and place them around the house or take a photo of your child with their back pack at the front door. I set up a mini spa for Hannah the night before school, she gets a relaxation massage, I paint her nails and put cucumber slices on her eyes…she looks forward to this every year and it helps to lessen the nervous butterflies that are common before the first day of school. These little things can help with first-day-back jitters and it’s something your kids can look forward to year after year.

2. Early Bedtime Practice. Getting a good sleep is a big part of being healthy. During the summer months it’s easy for bedtimes to get pushed back later and later – it’s part of the fun of summer! Do yourselves a big favor and start getting your kids back to a “school” bedtime at least 2 weeks before school starts. That way they will be back to a good sleep schedule by the first day of school.

3. Eat A Rainbow. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and veggies every day is a habit that the whole family will benefit from. Each color group is packed with a unique set of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which is why we thrive when we eat at least five colors a day! Getting your kids in the habit of eating produce every day will also help with lunch meal planning. Washed and chopped fruits and veggies belong in every school lunch try to include at least two colors in their lunches.

4. Waste-free Lunch Gear. It’s really easy to make the switch to lunch gear that creates no waste. From bento style lunch boxes from companies such as Planetbox and EasyLunchBoxes to cloth napkins such as Funkins, from water bottles to re-useable sandwich bags such as Lunchskins there are so many fantastic products on the market to help you send waste-free lunches.

5. Meal Planning. When you take the time to plan meals for the week ahead it makes life much smoother! Make this a family affair, this doesn’t have to fall on just one person’s shoulders, get your kids to offer suggestions as well. When planning your weekday meals it is also helpful to think in terms of what would make good leftover lunches! If you don’t feel like you have time to meal plan there are some great online meal planning services that do all the work for you such as The Six O’Clock Scramble.

6. New to You Clothes. Back to school is synonymous with buying new clothes. But clothes don’t have to be brand new, they can be new to you, you can purchase fantastic second hand clothes that not only look great, it’s also easier on your budget and better for the environment! We usually buy one brand new item and then buy a bunch of great outfits at our favorite second hand store. It didn’t take long for my daughter to realize that for the price of one brand new outfit she could get 4 or 5 second hand outfits! It’s time to raise savvy shoppers!

7. Grow Something. For those of us that don’t have a garden we can still benefit from the magic of gardening by growing our herbs in windowsills, or potted plants on balconies or even sprouting seeds with products such as A.Vogel’s 3 tier sprouter. Getting our kids involved with growing something they can eat in their lunches is an effective way to improve their nutrition.

8. School Fundraising. If you are joining the parenting group at your child’s school you could suggest some healthy alternatives for fundraising that move away from the typical sweets and other junk food. There are many ideas that work just as well such as creating and selling a school cookbook, holiday greeting cards made by the students, school spirit apparel etc… It’s important that we aren’t sending mixed messages to our kids by encouraging them to make healthy food choices yet expect them to sell junk food to raise funds.

9. Transportation Choices. If your child can take a school bus to and from school that is a great option. If you happen to live close to your school but your child isn’t old enough to walk on their own and you don’t have time to walk them, you could connect with other families in your neighbourhood to set up a “walking” school bus where the children meet and walk together. Car pooling is another option that helps eliminate traffic around schools and saves you money on gas! If your only option is to drive your kids to school then remember to not leave your car idling as you wait to drop them off. Every little effort we do to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle makes a difference.

10. Enjoy this Time. Do you remember when you had a little baby and people would tell you to enjoy it because time goes by so quickly and before you know it your baby would be grown up? I remember thinking people who said that to me were a little nuts because some sleep deprived days felt like years but they were 100% right. This time with our children does go by quickly so it’s important that we do our best to stay in the moment, experience these back to school times with them, make memories, take photos and remember that one day we will look back on these busy school years and wish we could go back for just one more hug from our little ones.


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is a mom and the creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit; a tool that helps parents establish healthy habits by setting the goal of eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day. Kia is passionate about creating tools that help parents raise healthy kids!


5 Responses to “Healthy Back to School Tips”

  1. okino says:

    I really love this post and I wish I could implement it but I haven’t had any children yet. It’s made me miss my nieces and nephews though.
    At least now I have some cool tips to tell my brothers and sister :)

    Thanks and good luck in the new academic year for your whole family ^^

  2. Joanna Bowen says:

    Love all these great ideas! Thanks!

  3. Nicole says:

    Great tips! I especially love the point about buying used clothing. You can get so much more for the same price!

  4. healthy says:

    Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a
    group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in
    the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on.
    You have done a extraordinary job!

  5. Anne Rubens says:

    Cute. Such a nice cute website for parents of little ones

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Today I ate a Rainbow™ chart is a great tool for adults with disabilities because it helps them visualize how many servings of fruit and vegetables they need to eat each day. It also helps encoura...Read More - Amy F.-TIER Support Services Ltd.

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