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How to Stay Healthy in the New School Year

For many families, summer vacations are wrapping up and a new school year is beginning. That means a return to busy schedules, classrooms full of friends, and a few challenges as classes go back in session.

While it is exciting, this time of year might fill you with questions: How do we stay healthy throughout the year? What’s the best lunch to help keep kids full and focused? How do we balance their physical, social and emotional needs.

The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. CareSpot and MedPost are here to support you for another year of success.

Healthy lunch: Fuel for the body and brain

School lunch can mean many things and for generations past, those menus weren’t always healthy. That’s changing in significant ways. Federal guidelines have raised the bar by limiting fat intake and calling for more protein and vitamins on every school tray.

But just because healthy options are available doesn’t mean that children will necessarily get that nutrition — in many cases, they still have to make the healthy choices.

Turns out, those healthy choices start at home. Teaching children about proper portion sizes can be just as important as teaching them how to find healthy and nutritious foods. When we have bigger portions on the plate, we’re all likely to eat more.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put together a helpful tool, called MyPlate, to help us figure out what a healthy meal looks like. The experts say half our plats should be fruits and vegetables. And on the latter group, aim for non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, lettuce and cauliflower.

Another quarter should be grains, ideally whole grains such as whole wheat bread or brown rice. Rounding out the perfect plate should be leaner proteins like chicken, turkey and seafood. Think beans or soy for easy vegetarian options.

Practice making these kinds of plates at home and then encourage your child to make similar choices at school. Even better: Consider packing them a lunch that reflects this makeup. It does take a few minutes, but pre-packing meals the night before can cut down on the stress of the morning rush. That can help you and your family make better choices.

Other great tips to help your kids’ nutrition? Encourage them to drink plenty of water, choose healthy snacks at home and try to keep the sugar to a minimum.

Get ready to play with a school physical

Eating healthy is part of the equation for school year success; another key part is keeping your body active in addition your mind.

For many kids, after-school sports have many benefits. They’re a great way to release pent up energy, learn new physical skills, and hone important social skills such as teamwork. Those benefits can translate to classroom success: Physical activity increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain and exercise releases endorphins that can help improve your child’s overall mood.

But wait: Your child probably needs a school physical before they can hit the field for their school team. We’ve got you covered! CareSpot and MedPost locations offer affordably priced school physicals. And if a big play ends in big-time pain (like a sprain, strain or break), we’re here to help, too.

Here for all your needs (like COVID-19 tests and flu shots)

Even off the playing field, CareSpot and MedPost are ready to serve your family whenever you need us. Most of our clinics are open seven days a week with extended hours.

As temperatures fall and autumn sets in, you should also consider getting your child (and the rest of your family) a flu shot. It’s a key part of preventing illness that could put you on the sidelines for weeks.

If you or a loved one starts feeling sick, go ahead and call us, schedule a visit, or simply walk right in. We’ve got flu tests and COVID-19 tests at the ready and can help you figure out what’s causing your symptoms so that you can get the right treatment.

More resources

Want to learn more about how to stay smart and healthy this school year? Check out these other articles:

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