Back To School

Well, most kids are back in school at this point and in our house schedules are returning to normal. I love my kids but those last couple weeks of summer were tough. Now that we are back to school, nutrition plays a key factor in our day-to-day, from a quick breakfast before the bus arrives to school lunches to making time to prepare and sit down for a family dinner each night. We have a 1st grader, 6th grader, a 7th grader, and a Freshman in high school, so a pretty broad range. 

Here are some of my thoughts to create a healthy, nutrition lifestyle from teens to 7 year olds. 

  1. With your teens, focus less on outcomes and more on the positive tasks each day.This can be tough, especially with a teenager. See if you can comment more on the daily accomplishments. “Love that you decided to grab a banana for a snack instead of potato chips.” The comments about outcomes, usually have to do with the way we look physically. It is really hard to control outcomes, especially for a teen. An example of what not to say would be “your skin would look better if you didn’t eat potato chips.”  

  2. As a general rule, if you have highly sugary, highly addictive, highly processed food in your house… sooner or later someone will eat them. Likewise, if you have whole foods that are nourishing and in-season in your house… sooner or later, someone will eat them.The fall is a great time to clean out the pantry and start fresh. Eventually, the kids will get hungry enough and they will only have one choice. Whatever is in the pantry will get eaten. 

  3. It doesn’t have to be perfect.Show your kids that “just a little bit better” is how you make healthy choices. It’s not about never having cookies, it’s about having cookies that are homemade from more nutritious ingredients as opposed to store bought.  

  4. Family dinner!Get everyone around the table. This is our most important part of the day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, we try to all sit down together. Each meal isn’t perfect, but we do the best we can. Honestly, this time is the glue that keeps us all together and connected and gives us the opportunity to make sure that everyone is doing ok. Again, it’s not often perfect, but we do the best to make it happen each night. If evenings are crazy for you with activities, try family breakfast!

  5. Prepare food.Show your kids that you can cook from scratch. Get them involved from a young age. You don’t have to cook gourmet dishes. Really, just cooking anything using whole foods teaches your kids about food and is time to connect. I’ve done this with all my kids and my teen now loves to bake and cook and she can do it on her own. She understands ingredients and gets the concept of scratch cooking and making things that are nourishing and that taste good. 

What are you doing to help your kids and family understand nutrition and make some changes to get better?

NutritionAaron Leventhal