8 Healthy Back-to-School Tips for the Whole Family
September is officially here, which means our futures hold falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and the start of the new school year. From kindergarteners to college students, people of all ages will be leaving their summer schedules behind and getting back in the swing of getting to class.
As much as we love this time of year, we know it can be stressful, too—between tests, papers, and early hours, sometimes we can forget to be mindful of our own health. That’s why we’re here to share our 8 healthy back-to-school tips for the whole family!
1. Give the Kitchen a “Fall Cleaning”
Start the school year off right by cleaning out the kitchen and restocking it with healthier food and snacks! Keeping unhealthy options around the house is begging for trouble, even if it isn’t for you—after all, studies prove that seeing a food regularly make us more likely to crave and eat it!
Healthy snacks can give us the energy and brainpower to make it through a long day of classes. That’s why fall is the perfect time to get into the habit of healthier snacking! Figure out what tastes you like best and find a substitution with better benefits. A great example of this is swapping out candy for fresh fruit or chips for home-seasoned popcorn; you get all the same sugar and crunch, just without any unhealthy additives!
2. Plan Ahead for Portion Control
For parents, the start of the school means the start of packing school lunches. But prepping meals ahead of time isn’t just for kids—it’s a great way for people of all ages to control their portions!
Planning our meals ahead of time can help ensure that we not only avoid overeating, but also that we pay close attention to what we are eating and why. Our own registered dietician Shara Lazar wrote an article highlighting the potential dangers of “grazing,” a habit where people mindlessly eat throughout the day. Mindfully planning out our meals and snacks helps us avoid unhealthy eating by keep us full and satisfied, all while assuring that we get the nutrients we need.
Our tips: a compartmented bento box is a great way to bring a perfectly proportioned meal on the go, and preparing meals that won’t produce leftovers takes away our ability to overeat. Give them a try!
3. Take Some Time to Enjoy the Fresh Air
Let out your inner schoolkid and make time for “recess”! Getting fresh air is great for the body and the soul—plus, as an added bonus, it can help get us up and moving throughout the day.
Try taking a walk outside during your lunch break or making time to play with the whole family outside after school! After all, studies suggest that spending time in the great outdoors can lower our blood pressure and stress levels, while physical activity boosts endorphins and helps improve mood. So, go for a quick jog or a leap into a huge pile of leaves—just get out and enjoy that crisp fall air!
4. Spend Quality Time with Your Support System
When it comes to living healthier, making time for your mental health never goes out of season—and one of the best ways to do that is to get together with your friends and family!
Healthy habits are easier to stick to when we’re accountable to others, so try to get your support system involved! For example, having a best friend be our running buddy makes most of us less likely to put off the exercise, and getting the whole family together on a new healthy snack kick can help remove temptation and renew our resolve.
Having emotional support also helps us through the highs and lows of a health journey. Knowing that your support system has your back can help you get back up when you stumble and keep moving forward. We recommend making it a homework assignment to stay social this school year, and to spend time with the people who matter most.
5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
From staying late at the library for a study session to pulling an all-nighter to finish a paper, most people have a story about an extreme lack of sleep due to schoolwork. Whether or not you’re a student, not sleeping can have a negative effect on your mind throughout the day.
When a person gets less than the daily recommendation of 8 full hours of sleep, they can suffer from impaired cognition, memory problems, and even an increased likelihood of weight gain! Even worse, not sleeping enough can weaken our immune system, making it more likely that we’ll catch something. That’s a recipe for disaster for students and their family members alike!
Be sure to plan your night around a reasonable bed time—staying up won’t seem nearly as fun the next morning!
6. Stay Healthy by Staying Hydrated
Have you been drinking enough water? Start the school year right by resolving to stay hydrated all year long! It may seem more important while the summer sun is beating down, but dehydration is a serious risk no matter the season.
Headaches, dizziness, and sluggishness are all symptoms of dehydration that can seriously impact our ability to get through the day and do our work, regardless of age and student-status. Luckily, drinking plenty of liquids will help keep those symptoms at bay. We suggest keeping a refillable bottle with you and replacing sugary drinks with a tall glass of cold, refreshing water.
7. Set Goals and Stick to Them
Everyone has a different reason for wanting to live a healthier life. No matter the reason, the best way to motivate ourselves and overcome setbacks is to remember what we want to do and why we want to do it!
Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to stay on track with your goals while finding out how you can improve yourself. By writing down our eating and exercise habits, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses. For example, if a person notices that they struggle with their meals on a certain day, they may be able to identify the cause and address it.
It’s also important to identify our successes; they can help keep us motivated and keep minor setbacks from spiraling into major ones.
8. Learn More About Weight-Loss Surgery
There are many factors which contribute to a person’s weight. From our eating habits to genetics to our natural metabolism, everyone’s body is different—it’s why dieting and exercising isn’t always enough for a person to lose weight. That’s where the New York Bariatric Group comes in!
Bariatric surgery is about more than just weight loss. These life-changing procedures have been proven to help improve and even resolve weight-related conditions such as:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- Arthritis and Joint Pain
- Difficulty Breathing and COPD
- And more!
Additionally, surgery can reset our metabolisms—by removing the part of the stomach that produces the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, patients are instead able to feel fuller while eating less.
Come to NYBG.
When it’s time to start a successful weight-loss journey, it’s time to call NYBG! We’re the best practice around and our numbers prove it:
- 9 skilled surgeons who are leaders in bariatrics
- 15,000 successful procedures performed with more every day
- The #1 gastric balloon practice by volume – most balloons placed in the United States
- 24/7 access to online seminars
- 100s of videos for patients explaining procedures, answering common questions, and showcasing previous patients
- Since 2000, we boast 18 years of success!
Our commitment to patient success and excellence has earned us accreditation from the Metabolic Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). This prestigious achievement recognizes only the top bariatric practices. Stop waiting; start achieving better health today.