Ten tips for a healthier school year

Start the day with breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After a prolonged period of no food or drink, children’s bodies need replenishing. Fresh fruit, cereal, fruit juice and toast all help to kick start the day. With a healthy breakfast, kids can concentrate a lot better on schoolwork.

Sleep the night away

Avoid overtiredness. Establish realistic bed times for your kids, and try to stick to the routine. The occasional late night can’t be avoided sometimes, but tired kids find it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork and sporting activities.

Plan ahead 

Routines for making school lunches, packing library bags, completing homework and remembering sports gear can be as simple as a weekly planner placed above the bed. Print multiple copies, if you have kids that need reminders pinned up in the kitchen, the bathroom or the computer screen.

Eat more of the good stuff

Make a family resolution to eat more grains, vegetables, fruit, pasta and oatmeal. These foods provide carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fibre. Dairy products and meats, beans or nuts (check for allergies) also provide protein and certain fats. You don’t have to give up pizza altogether, but eating less fast food and not eating too much of the same thing, will ensure your family’s diet is better balanced. 

Walk more

Walking is one of those exercises that doesn’t cost anything, and requires very little in the way of clothing and equipment. A sturdy pair of sneakers or walking shoes, hat and sunscreen, raincoat or umbrella, and the family is off and walking. Walking helps tone muscles, reduce stress and tension, and makes you feel great.

Less screen time

For young children, try a day without television, or for older kids, a day without their mobile!! Set time limits for computer use (if not for homework). Cut down on television and DVD watching. After sitting for 30 minutes, get up and move around. 

Drink more water

Water is essential to survival, and is a drink free of sugars and preservatives. The human body can use up to 10-12 cups of water a day for breathing, digestion, elimination and perspiration. Aim for eight glasses a day to help with metabolism of food and removal of toxins, and to keep the body hydrated (especially in summer).  

Aerobic recreation

Factor in 20 minutes of aerobic activity for your family 3-5 times per week. Warm up first and stretch muscles. Kick a ball, play cricket in the park, go for a swim, play soccer, bounce a basketball. Encourage your children to join in activities and sport at school. Physical fitness helps you to look good and feel good. Inside and out. 

Take up a hobby

Hobbies are fun and they help to build independence, self esteem and enhance creativity. Hobbies don’t need to be expensive. Children can start a collection of something, take up art or craft, start a vegie patch etc.

Dream and down time

Make this a year for some quality down time too. Check out the library for good books, listen to music,  walk or play with a pet, or veg out with a good DVD.

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