One Easy Way to Win at Back 2 School

Author: Meadowlands YMCA Staff
Date Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2019

The start of a new school year is the perfect time to introduce new healthy habits and routines for your family. Creating set processes and meal plans will help to alleviate the chaotic nature of back to school time. Between school, extracurricular activities, sports, and family time your calendar is already packed. By using some simple and effective health plans, you’ll structure your days and weeks – optimizing your time and the wellbeing of your family.

Win at Nutrition and Win in the Classroom

Did you know that 40% of the total caloric intake for children 2-18 years old are from empty calories from added sugars and solid fats?

According to the Society for Neuroscience, studies revealed that diets with high levels of saturated fats actually impair learning and memory. Foods like French fries, sugary desserts, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, and other cafeteria staples are causing kids to lose brain power before going back to class.

Other cafeteria favorites include sugary snacks like refined breads, sweets, and sodas. These “treats” lead to a terrible drop in energy a few minutes after consumption, irritability, lethargy, and lack of focus.

Together these two unhealthy culprits are a recipe for sluggish minds and bodies.

One great way to help them stay healthy is by regularly adding some gut-friendly snacks to your repertoire. Carrots or jicama sticks, apple slices with nut butter, yogurt or kefir, bananas, mango, and kiwifruit are all excellent choices for you both. These foods have vibrant colors, which can make it easier for children to buy into the change in diet.

Assess what the school cafeteria is serving and if you’re unhappy with the options then packing lunch is the way to go. Finding healthier options like hormone-free turkey sandwiches, salads, and healthy leftovers from the previous night will be easy and quick to incorporate into your busy routine.

Parents set the tone for their children’s diets. Chances are if you’re a junk food lover, so are they. Swapping out sugary, processed snacks for vegetables and fruit is a simple alternative that can reduce caloric intake and provide essential vitamins and minerals.  Become a role model for a healthy diet. Avoid using food as a reward. Continue to introduce new foods. New experiences also help to create plasticity in their brains and yours – helping you both to be primed for learning and retention.

Seek Help from a Family Nutrition Counselor

If your family needs some advice making healthier choices, seeking the assistance of a nutrition counselor is the perfect place to start.

You’ll receive a personalized nutrition plan that is modeled around the habits and patterns of your family’s lifestyle. Getting started is much easier than it may seem. With a few easy adjustments, you’ll improve your family’s health and brainpower – leading to better grades for kids and more energy for you!

The Meadowlands YMCA provides Family Nutrition Counseling, offering Y Members a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Stop by and help your family win at back to school.


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