The days of no schedule and sandy toes are coming to a screeching halt close. It’s the start of a new year…school year, that is. So, just like on January 1, why not set some intention to get back to your healthy habits? Try these 10 tips for a healthy school year!

You have a fresh start and great opportunity to take actions toward improving the health and wellness of your kids so that they are better able to focus and learn this year

source: Real Mom Nutrition

source: Real Mom Nutrition

1. Pack a healthy lunch

Preparing and packing lunch everyday can be an excruciating task, especially if there are picky eaters in your home! Make sure your kids get the energy they need to power through the school day by packing a healthy lunch. Studies have shown that the children who eat a well-balanced, nutritional lunch are more likely to stay focused during the school day.

Make packing a lunch easier with these 5 tips! Sally, over at Real Mom Nutrition, sets up lunch packing stations so her kids can pack their lunch themselves – genius!

Training for a race is a great way to meet your 60 minute physical activity goal!

2. Set a goal for 60 minutes of physical activity a day

School (and work!) can be exhausting, so make it a priority to get outside and play as a family! Training for a race together can be a great activity to practice goal setting while getting in your daily exercise. A great race for the whole family is RVA 5k on November 3, 2018, benefiting Greater Richmond Fit4Kids. Another option for just the kids is the Sports Backers Kids Run RVA Marathon Jr. on October 27th, 2018. Here are some more ideas for staying active at home.

3. Set a bedtime – for everyone! 

Kids ages 5-12 need 9-11 hours or more of sleep per night! Setting a bedtime and getting the required amount of sleep will help your child think clearly, help their immune system, and many other benefits.

4. Sip Smarter!

Did you know that drinking water can boost your concentration, improve your memory, and elevate your mood? The beginning of the school year is a great time to invest in a new water bottle to keep your kid’s water for their desk spill free and cold all day long!

Sugary drinks are often loved by and readily available to children. For each sugar-sweetened beverage consumed per day, a child’s risk of becoming overweight increases by 60%. In Virginia, 33% of 5-19 year olds consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage every day. Drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverage each day increases a child’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.

5. School year screen time rules

The recommended amount of screen time for kids is 2 hours per day or less. The beginning of the school year is a great time to set new screen time rules, like no TV Tuesdays or no screens Saturday! Check out these 100 ways to avoid the screen, not the fun!

Serve fruit infused water at school events

6. Propose healthy events at school

Back to School Night, as a teacher or PTA member, is a great opportunity to show the parents and students how your school plans to be healthy this year! This event is a great time to set the intention for the school year. Follow these tips on how to make it a healthy back to school night and get everyone on the healthy train!

Students walking to school safely as a ‘walking school bus’!

7. Walk or bike to school 

Walking or biking to school, if safe, is a great way for students to start their day. Fresh air and exercise get the mind ready to learn! It’s also a good start to reaching the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity children need each day.

8. Eat a better breakfast

Your mom probably always said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we have to agree! According to KidsHealth, “breakfast is a great way to give the body the refueling it needs. Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by midmorning if they don’t eat at least a small morning meal.”

Check out 100 Days of Real Food for some quick, easy, healthy breakfast ideas!

9. Familiarize yourself with your school’s or district’s policies around nutrition and physical activity

More recess? Healthier school breakfast? Now is the time to advocate for changes at your school! This could entail simply contacting an administrator or school board member with your concerns or gathering a bunch of people who support your cause. Action for Healthy Kids has tips on how to make change happen.

10. Apply for a wellness related grant

Many schools have the policies in place and great ideas, but struggle to find funds for wellness related fun. A new school year brings new opportunities for schools to apply for grants to support health and wellness.  Looking to spruce up a garden? Does your school need new recess equipment?  How about a bike rack or helmets for students who have outgrown their old one? But keep in mind that encouraging students to keep up their healthy habits can be very low cost and even free!

Here’s to a healthy and happy new (school) year!

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