Ding Ding Ding!
The bell rings and school starts again for another year. So we thought this to be an opportune time to share some of our thoughts with you on how to try and help your child maximise their school experience.
There are 2 main areas that we feel are simple to execute on: School Backpacks and Lunchboxes.
Below we have listed some of our best advice for you. As always if you have any questions then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEALTHY BACKPACK IDEAS
At MYC we believe that it is extremely important that parents of school aged children look at the quality and fit of their child’s backpack, as heavy, incorrectly fitted and badly packed school backpacks can lead to spinal health problems as your child grows.
Spinal health is crucial at any age and items like heavy backpacks may cause strain and discomfort to the spine. Spinal pain can be attributed to a number of factors, and heavy and incorrectly worn bags may also lead to poor posture, slouching and uneven hips.
Here are some excellent tips on how to ensure your children’s backpack fits correctly.
What to look for in a backpack:
- Make sure the backpack is the right size for your child, no wider than their chest and below the hollow of their back.
- A moulded frame on the back, that when adjusted fits their spine.
- A bag made from a light weight material like canvas, with two padded straps.
- Adjustable waist and sternum straps.
- Separate compartments that allow for easy packing and weight distribution.
How to carry the backpack in a spine safe way:
- Ensure that the weight of the backpack is no more than 10% of your child’s weight when packed. Only pack essentials to lessen the load, perhaps use school lockers if available.
- Pack the heaviest items closest to the spine and make sure all zippers are done up all the way.
- Secure the sternum and waist straps (they’re there for a reason).
- Always wear both straps. Tell the kids it’s not cool to ‘one-strap it’ anymore.
- Reduce the time spent wearing the backpack to no more than 30 minutes at any one time.
Another tip is to ensure your child is undertaking 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, as a part of correct spinal care. Particularly important is movement after school where the child’s spine has been forced to sit for long periods for majority of the school day.
If you’re looking for a backpack that ticks all the boxes above, the Australian Chiropractors Association together with Spartan School Supplies developed the ‘Chiropak’. This durable, functional and comfortable backpack is designed to reduce the incidence and severity of neck and back pain associated with carrying heavy loads. We have a sample backpack at the clinic if you wish to have a look at it.
Find out more about the Spartan ‘Chiropak’ by visiting HERE
We also welcome you to make an appointment at the practice for more advice and assistance on selecting the right backpack and making sure that it is fitted correctly to suit your child’s current level of development.
HEALTHY LUNCHBOX IDEAS
To help us out here we have sort the advice of our legendary associated dietitian Jenna Swift from Swift Nutrition for her best tips.
“The start of another school year is a reminder of the daily grind to prepare appealing lunch-boxes for hungry, growing children. Packaged foods such as fruit filled biscuits, muesli bars, snack packs and potato chips offer little in the way of nutrition and lack the vital micronutrients required for optimal growth and development.
On average, 1/3 of energy requirements are consumed at school, which is why it is important to ensure the lunchbox offers a healthy mix of foods. For a nutritionally balanced lunchbox include; whole grains for sustained energy, protein rich fillers (meat, fish, yoghurt), fresh fruit, water and a nutritious snack.“
Lunch Box Swap-outs:
Common Item Nutritious Version (* refers to recipe below)
|White bread sandwich with vegemite||>>>>> Rainbow wholegrain sandwich*|
|Sausage rolls||>>>>> Rice paper rolls*|
|Hot dog||>>>>> Wholegrain mini wraps|
|Meat pie||>>>>> Mini vegetable frittatas*|
|Chicken nuggets||>>>>> Chicken wings or homemade chicken breast nuggets|
|Diced fruit / canned fruit puree||>>>>> Fruit salad or fresh apple rhubarb puree|
|Chocolate dairy desserts||>>>>> Raw chocolate moose*|
|Cheese Snack Packs||>>>>> Cubed tasty cheese with cherry tomatoes|
|Roll Ups||>>>>> Dried apricots & sultanas|
|Pop tarts||>>>>> Blueberry picklets|
|LCMs||>>>>> Homemade rice puff bars*|
|Shapes||>>>>> Paprika pita chips & salsa*|
|Potato chips||>>>>> Vegetable sticks & hummus|
|Fruit Sticks||>>>>> Fruit bliss balls*|
|Fruit filled biscuits||>>>>> Banana Sushi*|
|Lollies||>>>>> Trail mix|
|Flavoured Milk||>>>>> Fruit smoothie*|
|Fruit Juice||>>>>> Freshly squeezed juice or frozen pieces of fruit|
|Soft Drink||>>>>> Plain water with fruit ice-blocks|
2 slices wholegrain bread
30g lean meat or fish
4 slices tomato
4 ribbons of cucumber
1/2 grated carrot
handful of mixed lettuce leaves
1/4 small avocado
|Banana Berry Smoothie
1 med banana
1/2 cup berries
2 tsp chia seeds
1 cup milk (cows, almond)
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
Note: use frozen bananas for a creamy consistency. Experiment with seasonal fruits, colours and combinations to increase variety.
|Mini Vegetable Frittatas
4 free range eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup tasty cheese
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 mushrooms, diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
|Paprika Pita Chips
2 pita pockets
1/4 tsp paprika
olive oil spray
|Homemade Puffed Rice Bar
6 cups puffed rice (healthfood store)
1/4 cup raw cacao (healthfood store)
2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup rice malt syrup or raw honey
|Apricot Bliss Balls
1 cup dried apricots (sulphur-free)
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil
|Rice Paper Rolls
12 rice paper rolls
1 poached chicken breast, sliced
1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
100g vermicelli rice noodles
4 tbsp nut butter or tahini or
2 mountain bread wraps
|Raw Chocolate Moose
1 ripe avocado
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp milk (cow’s, nut, coconut)