It’s back to school time, and you know what that means. Fighting the crowds down busy aisles searching for the last box of colored pencils. Digging through racks to find school-appropriate shorts and skirts for long-legged girls. Paying for 36 gluesticks – seriously?
I wish I could share pleasant or even nonchalant memories of back-to-school time. But honestly, does anyone have pleasant experiences in that department?
What I can share is a few ideas that might help lessen the madness around your house in those hectic first months of school.
Pack Lunches (For You And Your Kids) The Night Before.
Morning rushes are guaranteed to make you cranky and start the entire day off wrong. If lunches aren’t in the fridge ready to grab on the way out the door, you’ll have kiddos skipping lunch and you grabbing McDonald’s drive-thru.
To ensure both you and your kids get a filling, healthy meal, pack these easy options:
- Leftovers from dinner the night before. When you cook, cook extra – enough for your family take to school the next day.
- Salad with protein. Use spinach, not iceberg lettuce. Other healthy toppings include avocados, nuts, leftover grilled chicken breasts, a small amount of shredded cheese, cucumbers and bell peppers. For dressing, choose 1-2 teaspoons of a healthy brand like Newman’s Own Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. Because slicing up veggies can be time-consuming, try making a big salad for dinner and using the leftovers for lunch.
- Wholesome sandwiches. Toast a healthy, whole wheat bread like Ezekiel 4:9 Bread. Then, top with green leafy lettuce, leftover chicken or turkey, part skim mozzarella cheese, low-sodium mustard and red onions. Or, you can use natural peanut butter and mash up frozen raspberries to use instead of sugar-filled jelly.
- Greek yogurt. Mix nonfat, plain yogurt with 1/4 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup frozen fruit of choice and a teaspoon of honey or sugar-free sweetener. Leave this in the fridge overnight and you’ll have a pre-made oatmeal snack ready to go the next morning.
For breakfast, you could grab an Ezekiel 4:9 English muffin stuffed with a scrambled egg, one slice Canadian bacon and a little mozzarella cheese. If your mornings are especially busy, you can make a dozen of these in advance and store them in the freezer. Then, you just grab them and pop them in the microwave as needed.
Check out our blog for more healthy kid-approved breakfasts you can put together fast.
Keep A Family Calendar On The Fridge.
If you’ve watched Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie,” then you’ve probably noticed the chalkboard weekly schedule on the fridge. This is a great way to ensure busy moms, dads and kiddos are all on the same page. You can find these at many places, including Walmart, Target, Hobby Lobby and Amazon.
If you don’t want to deal with messy chalk or chalk pens, try this: Buy a desk-sized calendar, tear off the current month and tape it up on a wall somewhere visible. You can use a different color pen for each person in the family. Or color-code responsibilities and activities to keep the entire family organized.
Squeeze In 5 Up/5 Down HIIT Workouts.
Hit snooze too many times? Stayed up late finishing the laundry and bills? When you’re exhausted, it’s easy to neglect your workout. Before you do, however, try this quick energy-boosting formula.
Start with five minutes of HIIT (high intense interval training) exercises first thing when you get up and end the day with another five minutes before you lay down. The five minutes needs to be a cardio activity that raises your heart rate, such as jump tucks, jump rope, squat jumps, running in place, or high knees.
Try to do one exercise for 60 seconds, rest for ten seconds and then proceed to the next exercise. The important thing is to get your whole body moving. It’s only 5 minutes but will incinerate those fat stores and leave you feeling more energetic throughout your day.
According to Newsweek, the No. 1 reason cited for not working out or eating healthy is lack of time. Organization and efficiency are the only way busy moms and dads are able to squeeze in a workout while juggling careers, church, kids’ activities, shopping, sleeping and a handful of other responsibilities.
When you’re busy and stressed, your workout is most likely to get the ax. Plan ahead, be prepared and make time for your family’s health. You’ll never regret taking extra steps to keep you and your family healthy and fit.
Gyms aren't just for parents! Check out the fun youth activities at ATC your kids will love.