It’s that time of the year again, when children are back at school from the long and no doubt sugary snack filled festive season.  With that in mind, it is important for parents to consider key health options that will help ensure a great start to the school year for their children.  When it comes to preparing and packing nutritious yet interesting lunch boxes, a lot of parents suffer.  Coming up with an appealing lunch box that is not full of fatty and sugary foods can be quite the challenge.  However, lunch is an important part of any child’s school day as nutrition helps with learning and development, so make sure that you give your children a lunch box that is not full of sugar and carbs. 

To have a great school year, your children need to stay healthy.  Good health is all about striking the right balance between healthy eating, regular physical activities and getting enough rest.  Good nutrition and overall health are tied to a good academic performance so children who are unhealthy are most likely to have a hard time concentrating at school.  When children eat healthy food and maintain healthy bodies, they decrease their risks of developing health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. 

Gert Coetzee, pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About is committed to helping parents keep their children healthy for school.

Below he lists a few hints & tips for preparing your children for the new school year:

Good nutrition:  Provide healthy meal options for your children.  Also make sure that your children eat breakfast before going to school.  Students who eat breakfast are more alert and focus better in class.  Nutritious foods will help your child’s body fight off infections.

Here are some suggestions for preparing healthy lunch boxes for your children:

  • Bread: Try using different types of bread that are not packed with carbs.  For example, you can try low carb options such as whole wheat slim slice bread.  Whole wheat bread has more nutrients including fiber, protein and B vitamins which are all good for the body.
  • Fillings: Healthy options for fillings include avocados, tuna, peanut butter, cheese and sliced cold meats.  Go for lean cuts, such as they are all lower in salt and fat and are better for your children than processed meats.
  • Snacks: With fruit, the best choices include fresh fruit like bananas, apples, plums, peaches, pears and grapes.  Cut the fruit into manageable sizes, which will make them easy to eat.  You can also include vegetable sticks with a dip, avoid sweet dips.  Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories.  Vegetables are important sources of nutrients which are all good for the body.  Other good options include biltong, cheese wedges and popcorn.

Develop a sleeping routine:  After a holiday season of late nights and relaxed mornings, your child will need help adjusting to sleeping earlier and waking up early.  Getting enough sleep is important for children to be successful in school.  Set a consistent bedtime and make sure that your children stick to it.  Not getting enough sleep is associated with a low academic performance due to a lack in concentration.

Schedule a doctor’s appointment:  An annual physical exam will ensure that your child is healthy and fit to go back to school.   This would also be the perfect time to have medication forms and prescriptions updated by your doctor.  If your children suffer from any allergies, make sure that you discuss them with your child’s school nurse.