Gone are the easy breezy days of summer and here once again are the crazy, hectic days of back to school hysteria. But, I’ve learned that when it comes to minimizing morning madness the best approach, other than pretending your name isn’t ‘Mom,’ is to do it as I do all things housewifely…with balance and moderation.
1. MORNING ‘TO DO’ LIST: Together, create a realistic checklist that lets them ‘check off’ to do’s on a daily basis like Pack Homework; Go Nitey; Wake Up Smilin’, Get Dressed, Eat Breaky; Wash face ‘n hands; Brush Teeth ‘n Hair; Take Lunch; Wish mommy/family a nice day.
2. PLAN AHEAD: I picked out Luke’s wardrobe with him for the week on Sunday evenings to avoid morning chants of ‘Mommy, what should I wear’ or him coming to the breakfast table in shorts and a tee when it was freezing out!
3. PACK IT ‘N PLACE IT: Don’t wait until the morning when your child is not quite bright eyed ‘n bushy-tailed to have them pack their back-pack along with their homework. Do it the night before and put it by the door with their shoes to avoid ‘Mom I can’t find my backpack.’
4. BALANCE YOUR FOOD BATTLES: I found that giving Luke choices helped in my quest to get nutrition in his meals. Particularly since I knew Luke, like most kids, liked something sweet, and he wouldn’t drink milk unless it was flavored so I chose to give him chocolate or strawberry milk. And yes, I know there’s lots of poo-pooing about flavored milk these days, not to mention a lot of talk about “good” sugar versus “bad” sugar. I have read from experts, and the consensus is, whether it’s the honey on your muffins, the high fructose corn syrup in your ketchup, or the cane syrup in good ole granola, they’re all nutritionally equivalent. This goes with my overall philosophy in all aspects of my life, ‘balance and moderation.’ That’s why I was excited when the folks at CRA asked me to work with them to provide you tips that can help you simplify your mornings and bring it back to the basics, moderation and balance. And as a mom of a now 6’1” Division One college athlete, I think I made the right choice! To learn more about the myths and facts surrounding added sugars, check out this website.
5. FORGET YOUR INNER MARTHA: Who has that kind of time, right? My advice, keep it simple and balanced. The key is to get something in their tummies that is nutritional and provides energy. Serve things that are quick ‘n easy to make like fresh fruit or juice, flavored yogurt or milk, and/or toasted bagels, waffles or pancakes with their fave toppings.
As for lunch, here are some suggestions for whatever type of picky eater you may have. Oh yes, and whenever possible get them involved in prepping it since if they had a hand in making it, chances are they’ll eat most of it versus trade it!
- For Your Veggie Hater: DIP IT! Have them select the veggie they’ll eat i.e. carrots, celery, cucumber, or fruit and the dip they like: hummus, green goddess dressing, fruit yogurt etc.
- For Your Never Enough Sweet Toother: WRAP IT! As the saying goes: ‘forbidden fruit is always sweeter’ so balance it. Make half of a PB & J wrap with bananas and half with cream cheese and strawberries.
- For Your Snacker: MIX IT! If your child only eats food that comes in a pre-packaged bag or wrapper, create a homemade mix”
- Mix sweet potato chips like those from Terra with their favorite chip (but get one that’s lower in salt and fat and according to the experts Kettle-cooked is healthier then baked).
- Mix dried fruits like cranberries or crunchy snap peas with cheese doodles. The fruit ‘n veggies will take on that tasty cheesy coating!