Back To School Essentials

It's that time of year - back to school for your kiddies:

September has always marked a new beginning for me whether I'm in or out of school. Summer is over, it gets darker faster, the mornings and evenings are cooler and we prepare ourselves for the leaves to change colors and Fall to arrive. September is a great time for creating new goals, setting your intention, sparking new ideas and generating a renewed sense of motivation. It's the time of year when the kids go back to school which brings with it excitement, anxiety, stress and a new routine must be established.

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I want to help you with all of that! I'm giving you my top tips to get the kiddies and YOU ready for back to school.
  1. Nothing can compensate for a good routine. Get you and the kids on a schedule pronto. Now that the summer is over, organization will be the foundation to successful and happy school days and preparation will be the key to maintaining healthy eating goals. You may not love the idea of preparing everyone's lunches in the evening but you'll love it even less first thing in the morning when you're rushing around. Make lunches in the evenings. Perhaps set a scheduled time, such as before doing dinner dishes. You're likely to be more creative and it gives you an opportunity to get the kids involved. This leaves mornings for healthy breakfast options. Which brings me to my second point...
  2. Jump on the smoothie train! There's a reason why everyone's talking about smoothies. And I'm not talking about the nasty ones served at fast food chains. I'm talking about real, whole food based smoothies. The reason I recommend my clients incorporate more smoothies into their diet is simple: nutrition! You can jam pack smoothies with a ton of nutrients. They are also simple to make and easy to take on the go. I highly recommend preparing your smoothies the night before. Prep your smoothie (minus the liquid) in your blender. Refrigerate and in the morning all you need to do is add your liquid, some ice if you like, blitz and you're done. Kids love smoothies, especially if you give them awesome names like "Green Monster", "The Hulk" - it gives a whole new meaning to green smoothies! 
  3. Get kids involved! Allow them to help with smoothie preparations, give them options where their lunch is concerned. Give them the freedom and choice to pick what they would like to eat. For instance, "which two veggies would you like sliced up for school tomorrow?" This makes them more accountable for their choices and much more likely to eat their lunch. Teach them about artificial colors in candy and chemicals in processed foods. They will listen - I promise. They will absorb much more than you think they are. Understanding about food and nourishment will give them the tools to make better choices when you are not around. They learn best by example so remember that you're teaching them based on what you keep in the house and what you eat yourself. If there's good food in your cupboards and in your fridge, they will eat good food. I've seen it time and time again.
  4. Be sure that you're packing them enough nourishing and satiating food for lunch and snacks. This way they will hopefully avoid the vending machines. Load them up with brain food in the form of healthy fats and keep their bellies full with plant-based sources of protein or clean animal sources such as lean organic chicken or turkey. Avoid sodium-rich and nitrate based deli-meats. I have always found that leftovers make the best lunches. Which is why I always make extras at dinner. It's also why I cook in bulk on Sundays to prepare myself for the week ahead. Check out some of my meal planning strategies here.
  5. Snack tips. Try making fruit skewers filled with anti-oxidant rich berries, citrus, organic grapes and melon. Load them up on raw veggies and pair them with yummy protein rich bean dips such as black bean dip, hummus or garlic/rosemary and navy bean dip. Cashew cheese dips are always a hit but if your school is nut free then try guacamole or salsa served with veggies or organic corn chips.
  6. Hydration is key. Please avoid juice boxes - you're not doing your child any favors by giving them that. Even the ones that say natural and 100% fruit juice are still from concentrate, they've still been pasteurized and probably contain added preservative, sweeteners and colors. It's not real juice. Your child won't be getting any vitamin C. To boot, they come with plastic straws, which children bite and play with which leaches toxic chemicals into their little systems. No sodas either, they are filled with high fructose corn syrup which is guaranteed to be genetically modified or artificial sweeteners and colors. They are empty calories which are only adding to the obesity epidemic. Water is best. There's no doubt, no question about it - water is best for them. Purchase a few stainless steel or glass water bottles (I really like Life Factory), fill them up with clean, filtered water. You can jazz up their water with lemon wedges or frozen berries, peaches, pineapple or mango. The body requires water to function - remember, our bodies are primarily made up of water.
  7. Bedtime routine. School aged children require somewhere between 9-12 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is crucial to avoid a cranky and irritable child. That's when our bodies rest and repair themselves. I suggest incorporating a bedtime routine to help with this. Try some of these activities to help wind down your kids and prepare them for bedtime: a warm bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil; a few drops of lavender on their bedding and pillow cases; diffuse doTERRA's Serenity blend to promote relaxation and encourage sleep; lastly, be sure to avoid anything stimulating before bed such as pop, hot chocolate (although if you're using raw cacao, that's a different story) and violent or disturbing TV shows or movies.
  8. School Essentials. For those of you who may not know, I'm now an Essential Oil Expert and Wellness Advocate for doTERRA oils. Try using essential oils for the kids and slowly start replacing the chemical-laden products in your medicine cabinet with these Certified Pure and Therapeutic Grade oils. There is literally an oil for everything. If you're unsure, simply fire me off an email at hello@valeriepiccitto.com. Try doTERRA's On Guard Protective Blend: this will help keep your little ones immune system strong. This blend is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial and it smells like Christmas. A few drops applied to the bottoms of their feet each day is all you need to get them through cold and flu season. I really like to diffuse all of the Citrus Oils for elevating mood and curbing crankiness, try Citrus Bliss. InTune is another great blend to help keep the kids focused and alert while increasing concentration at school. It comes in a convenient roller bottle, just apply to their temples and the back of their neck.

You can shop the oils HERE!

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