Back To School, Back to Health!

Simple Strategies to boost your health and the health of your family

Can you believe it? It is already August; many of us are out shopping for school supplies, figuring out school schedules and how we will manage the changes!

Change can be very stressful for adults and even more stressful for young children and teens as they are still developing and trying to work through how to manage all the demands of school, different personalities, a new teacher, etc. Amazingly, food can have a huge impact on all of this! Food is a huge component in how we feel, learn, adapt, and manage our emotions.  While we cannot schedule, control and figure out everything, there are a few simple steps and foods that we can take in order to support our kids and ourselves with overall health, increased focus/learning and a reduction in stress.

There is a STRONG link between FOOD and MOOD even if we don’t realize it!

Healthy Fats provide key nutrients for brain development in our babies, children and teenagers; additionally they provide anti-inflammatory properties, focus, energy, along with the ability to absorb other vitamins and nutrients; making us feel fuller and stabilizing our blood sugar levels (which creates our cravings, reduction in focus, and can lead to internal damage overtime).

Healthy Proteins provide the building blocks of muscle and tissue growth, protein is found in every cell of our body, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, a key component of brain communication, and much more.

Fruits and Vegetables are full of micronutrients that prevent disease, reduce inflammation (our brain is very susceptible to inflammation), cleanse our cells and our liver, create healthy skin, feel fuller longer (supporting stable blood sugar levels), support learning/focus, improve our digestion, and maintain a healthy immune system

Incorporating healthier options into our lives that fit into these above categories will support our and our children’s cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing. This does not need to be challenging; it just takes a little bit of preparation and planning on a weekly basis. Get your kids involved not only to reduce the responsibility on you but also as an opportunity to connect with them more and teach them healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Many times when children are a part of the food planning and preparation process they are more likely to eat it.  There really are no hidden secrets or weird concoctions…just an intention to go back to some of the basics!

So what are those simple steps and foods to bring on so many benefits? Here are my suggestions:

  1. Reserve 30 minutes at the end of the week to assess groceries in your home. Create a meal plan full of whole foods for the upcoming week and identify what whole foods you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  2. Saturday or Sunday afternoon reserve an hour to prep up snacks, meals, cut up veggies, place fruit and vegetables in baggies for ‘grab and go,” etc.
  3. Consume Healthy Fats and Proteins for Breakfast daily – reduce or eliminate breakfast cereals as they can cause a spike in blood sugar and increase carb/sugar cravings…RESERVE those for weekends if you feel you and/or your kids must have them! Some simple ‘on the go’ options include:
    1. Overnight Oats
    2. Smoothies
    3. Omelet Muffins (easy to makeup and freeze)
    4. Organic Plain Greek Yogurt with berries
  1. Pack Lunches full of Healthy Fats, Proteins, Fruits and Vegetables daily
    1. Tortilla Rollups with almond butter and banana or nitrate free meat with spinach
    2. Hummus with carrots, raw peppers, cucumbers, jicama, and/or snap peas
    3. Nitrate Free Turkey or Beef Sticks
    4. Homemade soup or stew
    5. Avocado & Chickpea spread on a tortilla or healthy bread
    6. Homemade Protein bites
    7. Organic Greek Yogurt
    8. Organic Yogurt in Tubes
    9. Apples with almond or peanut butter
    10. Handful of raw almonds with raisins or cranberries
    11. Grapes
    12. Chocolate Mousse




  1. Prep After School Snacks – designate a drawer or shelf in the refrigerator or cupboard with healthy snacks to choose from. Ideas include:
    1. Grapes
    2. Carrots
    3. Snap peas
    4. Celery with Almond or Peanut Butter
    5. Grape Tomatoes
    6. Small bottles of water
    7. Nitrate free Turkey or Beef Sticks
    8. Greek Yogurt
    9. Raspberries
    10. Organic cheese sticks
    11. Hummus (small single serve packs are great)
    12. Guacamole (small single serve packs are great)
    13. Homemade Protein Bites

      6. Quick, easy and healthy dinners

  1. Prep up meals and place ingredients in freezer bags to be pulled out and cooked any night.
  2. Wildtree Freezer Meals are a great and healthy options to make and have on hand
  3. Make friends with your Crockpot
  4. Consider purchasing and using an Instant Pot
  5. Keep it Simple! Recipe Ideas:
    1. Dijon Chicken
    2. Rotisserie Chicken
    3. Black Bean Burgers – make them up and place in container in refrigerator until ready to make into patties.
    4. Stuffed Peppers – make up the mixture (as simple as cooked quinoa, cooked grass fed beef mixed with tomato sauce), place in peppers and then in freezer bag to freeze until ready to heat and eat.


7. Simple ways to load up on Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Snacks
  2. At Every Meal
  3. In Smoothies
  4. Place in soups/stews
  5. Veggie Wraps
  6. Add veggies to eggs and/or quiche



Melanie Schmidt is a Certified Health Coach (from IIN and AAP) and mom of 3 small children that is passionate about supporting and empowering women in achieving a healthy lifestyle that fosters joy, presence, energy and optimal physical and emotional health. Melanie believes that incorporating more whole foods, physical activity, practicing simple mindfulness techniques and doing what gives us joy can be foundational to our health and wellbeing.  As a mom of 3 small children, Melanie understands the demands of family life, career, making regular healthy meals, weaving in self care, along with the daily challenge to create life balance. These reasons and challenges are why Melanie is passionate about supporting and partnering with women at any life stage to support them in meeting personal and family wellness lifestyle goals.

 Food 4 Thought does not intend to dispense medical advice and should not be considered medical advice or counsel. If you have a question about your health or the health of your child please consult your physician. The stories and information here are anecdotal and of personal opinion only and should not be used as a substitute for medical help.

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