Back to School Basics

SmartShape Weight Loss Centre

As you prepare to send your children, grandchildren and/or significant other back to school many will find they ask themselves: “What is on the menu to fuel their active minds and bodies?” Now, why is it that we ask this question about others and yet we rarely ask it in reference to our OWN self care?!?!  Often we prioritize the needs of everyone BUT ourselves and as a result, our health status and healthy lifestyle can slip through our fingertips.  Therefore, I challenge you to apply the care plan that you use for your significant other to yourself as well!!


  • Improved concentration
  • More time to eat
  • Supervised eating time/Opportunity for Group Reflection & Learning Time
  • More time for activity

1. Break the fast. 

  • Breakfast gives more of the nutrients we need
  • A nutritious breakfast provides energy and essential nutrients. Research shows that skipping breakfast may not make up for the nutrients missed out on at that meal
  • People who eat breakfast have healthier body weights
  • Skipping breakfast is not a smart weight control strategy. In fact, studies have shown that children and adults who do eat breakfast regularly have healthier weights than those who skip breakfast.
  • Skipping breakfast may affect success in school/work
  • Studies suggest that eating breakfast is associated with improved memory, better performance, greater attendance and mood.

2. Lunch wise

  • Youth who help plan and prepare their lunch are more likely to eat it
  • Lunch is a perfect opportunity to develop healthy meal planning skills for individuals of all ages.
  • Try to pack a lunch that includes at least three of the four food groups
  • Make sure you consider favourite foods; add these to your shopping list to stock your kitchen cupboards and fridge so the items you know you will enjoy are within arms reach at all times and you can avoid the last min grab-n-go routine of less healthy options.  

3. Snack smart

  • Plan snacks around the school/work day
  • Find out when your child’s school has scheduled break and snack times, and don’t forget about snacks for after-school activities. Consider your work schedule and where you notice a particular time of day that is rather challenging in terms of hunger, consider “scheduling” a routine intake at this time.

4.  Plan ahead.  Mornings are always going to be busy. To make things less hectic, plan ahead. Taking a few minutes at night or on the weekend to plan for lunches and snacks will save you time (and stress!) on weekdays; it’s worth it!

  • When you bring home your groceries, take the time to wash and chop your vegetables and fruit into small sized snacks. Place in plastic containers so they can be ready when you need them.
  • Re-organize!  Keep all your lunch making supplies like lunch bags, plastic containers, reusable cutlery and napkins in one designated spot in your kitchen. This will make putting together lunches faster and easier.
  • Save time on busy mornings by preparing ahead the night before. Pack up dinner leftovers into a microwaveable container, make sandwiches and cut up fruits and veggies for lunch the next day.
  • Keep your pantry stocked so that you’ll always have healthy lunch and snack items.


  1. EatRight Ontario.  Back to school nutrition basics.  Retrieved April 23, 2012 from
  2. EatRight Ontario.  It’s back to school time: Ten tips to make this school year healthier.  Retrieved April 23, 2012 from!-10-tips-to-make-this-sch.aspx