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Focus on the Basics for Back-to-School Wellness

By Danielle Terpstra, MS, EP-C, Wellness Account Manager

While summer break is a nice change of pace for everyone, the new school year can bring a welcome sense of predictability and organization. With some preparation and a splash of diligence, you can use this back-to-school time to build healthy habits and nurture your family’s well-being.

However, keep in mind that the secret to lasting success is to focus on the basics:

Nutrition
Junk foods provide empty calories, added sugars, and harmful chemicals—without providing the proper nutrition necessary for your physical and mental well-being. Make calories count by including real foods (fruits, vegetables, and anything that comes directly from nature) in every lunch and snack. Save time and money by preparing healthy options in bulk this summer (particularly when the garden is flourishing) and freeze them for school lunches. (See recipe below.)

Sleep
Sleep is essential for all systems in the body. It strengthens immunity and improves cognitive functioning and physical performance. To build a healthy sleep environment, enforce the “no electronic devices” rule for at least an hour before bedtime.

Mental well-being
Our mental well-being requires daily time spent outdoors, movement, nutritious food, and support for any difficult experiences that take place regarding this adjustment to school. Make these experiences non-negotiable daily (yes, even when the weather isn’t the greatest and extra-curricular schedules put up hurdles). You’ll notice a positive change in everyone’s mental health!

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Recipe

Replace expensive, empty-calorie granola bars with fun, delicious, and nutritious energy bites using this recipe.

1. Mix the following in a large mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter*
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

2. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

3. Roll into 1-inch balls. Each ball is a serving.

4. Enjoy immediately, keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or store in the freezer for up to a few months. (Thaw overnight for school lunches.)

*If someone in your family has a peanut allergy, sunflower butter is a good substitution.

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