ABC's of Organizing a Healthy School Year Eating Plan by Leslie Gail NAPO Member since 2010

    ABC's of Organizing a Healthy School Year Eating Plan
    by Leslie Gail NAPO Member since 2010

    Motivated to start the school year off with healthy choices, but aren't sure where to start? Focus on organizing your intention with a healthy attitude, starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast, and making healthy choices readily available.

    Here are three smart strategies to implement right now:

    A is for Attitude
    Organize your attitude! The way you approach healthy eating habits affects your behavior. If your intention is to implement a healthy eating plan but feel it will be a struggle against the “easy” choices, then you will not receive a passing grade. Organize your attitude to reflect your intention. Writing an “I’m serious this time” shopping list is not enough. Imagine what a healthier plan would look like in the daily routine for your family. Get creative and enlist the kids if you can. Draw a poster of daily choices, or, better yet, use actual food! Put it all out on the table. What does healthy eating LOOK like in your living space? What can you realistically accomplish? It might not be possible to do a complete overhaul. Keep a positive attitude about the changes you make and let that be good enough for now. Revisit after a month and raise the grade if you can.

    B is for Breakfast
    Organize your breakfast routine! Coordinate your healthy eating routine around this most important meal of the day. It starts with getting to bed on time. Kids will not be hungry if they are rolling out of bed twenty minutes before the bus arrives. Consider organizing bedtime routines to create a more peaceful morning and make the food choices count. Don't have time to eat at home? Do not let drive-thru breakfast be a Monday thru Friday option. Take it off the table. Have healthy to-go options if needed, but make the goal to organize around a more peaceful start to the morning. Emphasize taking the time to consume calories that count as fuel.

    C is for Choices
    Organize for healthier choices! You have adjusted your attitude and evening routine for a healthier entry into the day. Now it is time to organize for healthier choices. Have you tried the 80/20 rule? “Basically, you eat healthy and purely for nutrition 80 percent of the time, and indulge or eat for pleasure 20 percent of the time.” To do this, consider the choices in your cupboards and fridge. Are 80% of the food choices nutritious? Do the math and start closing the gap. In our home, we never ate out on a school night - gasp! We indulged in “Fast Food Fridays” and ate at a restaurant for dinner on Saturday. We had a modest “treat drawer” and allowed the kids two treats a day - whenever they wanted them. We did not use pleasure food as a reward for healthy choices because it was allowed in moderation.

    Get excited about a healthy eating plan this school year! Maintain a positive attitude and look forward to what you can learn about what will work for your family. Organize Sunday through Thursday nights to get to bed on time for a smoother entry into healthy breakfast habits on school days. And finally, check out your choices. What foods are available in your home? Do the healthy options outweigh the pleasure options? Organize your purchases to reflect this ratio and reap the benefits of a healthier life!



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