It’s that time again, the summer holidays are over, and kids are either dreading their return to school or they’re blooming excited. Let’s face it, whether it's primary schools or secondary schools, the back-to-school phase can be a struggle, for both you and your child. They've got the nerves of going back to school so in the mornings they tend to be more fidgety, they may say they've got a stomach ache, or have unexplained bouts of crying. It varies from child to child, so it's important you ask them how they're feeling and try to calm them down as best as possible.
For yourself, you've got the stressing of preparing pretty much everything. Whether it’s ironing the pile of school uniform, getting your child back into a routine, or preparing their lunches. We understand your stress and difficulties, so we’ve created a guide that makes going back to school a little less overwhelming and will help you to save some time to make the return to school process smoother.
Destroy that laundry pile
It’s time to pull out the school uniforms out and get them cleaned, dried, and ironed. We’d recommend having multiple sets of trousers and shirts washed and ready to wear, because you never know when your child will come home with dirty clothes and will need a fresh set of clothes for the next day. Yes, this means doing a bulk clean and iron all on one day, which might sound tiresome but will save you tonnes of time and effort later in the week - no more last-minute quick washes or last-minute ironing jobs.
If you need help on picking the right laundry detergent for you, check out our guide on Bio vs Non-Bio washing powders.
How important is breakfast?
A nutritious breakfast to start your day is crucial. Every child and adult needs breakfast, and sometimes it’s a race against the clock to get some food in us first thing in the morning. Research indicates that without breakfast we have decreased focus and learning, which in turn can negatively impact your child’s school performance. Breakfast doesn’t need to be a Michelin star dish, but it also doesn’t need to be boring. Check out these 2 simple recipes you can make in minutes with oats.
Oats are packed with carbohydrates, which means your child will have plenty of energy for the day. Preparing a bowl of porridge is simple and it can serve the whole family, so it also saves a lot of time. Pack your porridge with flavour by topping it off with some fruits like bananas and berries. Rather than opting for things like sugar, opt for some natural sweetness which you can get from Biona’s Organic Light Agave Syrup. The benefit of oats is their versatility, you can have them every day of the week and all you need to do is vary the toppings, in fact you can select pretty much anything from our Nuts, Dried Fruit and Seeds selection.
Strapped for time in the morning rush? Try a nutritious breakfast smoothie, it's quick to prepare and perfect for on-the-go. A simple recipe is to pop the following ingredients into a blender and blitz it:
- 150ml milk (we recommend Oatly, it’s light and delicious)
- 80g oats
- 1 banana
- 15g peanut butter
- A dash of cinnamon
- A tablespoon of Biona Organic Agave Syrup
To get some added protein into the smoothie, you can always add in some Pulsin Whey Protein in Natural Vanilla Flavour. Pulsin recommend only adding 10g for young children, but not for babies or infants.
Style out that lunch box
It's important you pack your child's lunch box with balanced meals, this will provide them with essential nutrients required to support their growth and development. Balanced meals will be made up of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods, protein, dairy and fats and sugars.
Sandwiches are probably the safest options for school lunches. They’re easy to make, save plenty of time, the filling choices are endless, and they fit perfectly in lunch boxes. A cheese sandwich packed with salad is the easiest of the bunch to put together and tastes good, but have you ever tried a fruit spread sandwich? The Sunwheel Pear & Apple Spread is easy to put together and gives your child a healthy sandwich that fulfils 2 of their 5 a day fruits. (Don't forget your sandwich bags!)
Bored of sandwiches? Pasta is a great option for school meals, and if you’ve got some time on your hands and want to give your child something different, why not make a tuna pasta salad for a healthy lunch?
All you’ll need is:
- 150g penne pasta
- 1/2 tin of sweetcorn (drained)
- 1 tin of tuna chunks in spring water
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
- a handful of diced cherry tomatoes
The best thing about this dish is that once the pasta is cooked, you just need to put all your ingredients into a food storage container and give it a thorough mix. A clean, delicious school lunch made in just 10 minutes.
If you’re looking for a different way of preparing pasta for a packed lunch, why not swap out the tuna and mayonnaise, and add in a pasta sauce. Mutti and Napolina have a wide range of sauces you can choose from:
- Mutti Tomato & Olive Pasta Sauce
- Mutti Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce
- Mutti Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Pasta Sauce
- Napolina Bolognese Sauce
- Napolina Tomato & Chilli Sauce
- Napolina Tomato & Basil Sauce
- Napolina Tomato & Mascarpone Sauce
Lunch box Life Savers
Along with those delicious school meals, your kids are going to need some healthy snacks to go in with them. Snack ideas can be difficult to think of (depending how fussy your child might be). We recommend adding a piece of fresh fruit to their lunch box, whether it's a banana, apple, pear or any other fruit they like, this will ensure they're getting a nutritious lunch because fruits are filled with essential nutrients.
For a healthy snack alongside a piece of fruit, you can opt for Spare Snacks Apple Fruit Crisps. They're a much healthier option than a standard bag of crisps, they’re low in calorie and are air-dried so there’s no frying here. They're also naturally sweet with a tasty apple crunch. These are also available in an Apple & Cinnamon flavour.
For a savoury school snack, why not try the smoky taste of Proper Chips Barbecue, it's made from lentils which are high in protein, fibre, and iron. Again, they’re low in calories and pack a flavoursome punch for a healthy treat when compared to a normal bag of crisps. Also from the Proper company are Propercorn’s Sweet & Salty Singles, which are naturally seasoned for a clean and flavourful snack.
If your child is a fan of chocolate, but you want to give them something that’s still healthy, Ape Chocolate Coconut Bitesare the perfect treat. Made with plant-based ingredients and natural flavours, these bites are light and crunchy, and they’re individually wrapped so you can pop them straight in your child’s lunchbox.
For the perfect lunchbox drink, a water bottle is best but for an occasional treat, you can’t beat the lunchtime favourite which is Robinson’s Fruit Shoot. It's bursting with the flavour that children love and comes in two flavours, Apple & Blackcurrant or Orange, Fruit Shoot fits perfectly in lunchboxes, and is a great option to keep your child refreshed at lunchtimes on their busy school days.
From Back to School to Back to Home
Relief at last, your child has tackled the school day and beat their nerves, but we're not done here. It's worth setting a routine that makes it easy both you and your child to stick with for when they get home. This might be having your child take a shower and put their dirty clothes in the laundry right away, giving them time to unwind before getting their homework done and setting their bedtime schedule so they're awake and ready to tackle the following day with ease. It might be worth creating a routine checklist similar to the one they use before school.
Following a routine will allow you to manage and utilise your time better as well so you can get through all the after-school household chores. You'll even have the time to prepare a lovely nutritious dinner for the family, and maybe even have the time to prepare those delicious school meals the night before too.
Do you have some inspirational school lunches you want to share with us? Send them to us on our Instagram and we might feature them on our page!