It's Back to School (and to Work)...  
Are You Ready?


No matter our age, the back to school season always seems to bring a renewed intensity to life...and busier schedules.  But before you fill your calendar with activities or overwhelm yourself with new commitments,  take a few moments to think about how you can maintain balance in your life.  There have been some great articles released recently on everything from the importance of sleep for school aged kids, to the need to address women's work-life imbalance, to managing family dinners .  I've pulled a few of my favorites to share with you here in addition to some great tips to keep the kids eating healthy at school.  
Carol Bysiek, C.H.C
Founder, Lily Pad Wellness
Lunch Bag Smarts

  1. Pack the night before.  This will give your child time to plan ahead and make better choices.
  2. Choose foods your kids LOVE. The foods you pack will not provide your child with nutrition if they are tossed out or uneaten.
  3. Keep it cold. Use an insulated lunch box. Brown bags don’t keep food cold enough and food can spoil.
  4. Quick-pack snacks.  Instead of buying the 100 calorie bag of cookies and chips, make your own quick packs and keep them in the fridge for the kids to choose from.  Use zippered snack bags to help with portion control.  Here are some suggestions (**check with your school and class parent about any nut allergies first!):
    1. Veggie Sticks – like carrots, celery, cucumber and jicama (pack it with a small packet of peanut butter to go or hummus for dipping)
    2. Raw nuts & seeds – almonds**, cashews**, sunflower or pumpkin seeds 
    3. Trail mix – dried fruit (raisins, banana chips, dried cranberries, dates) and mixed nuts**.
    4. Frozen yogurt. Freeze yogurt tubes or premixed fruit yogurt. Put it in the lunch in the morning and it will usually thaw before lunch
    5. Single Serving hummus or guacamole.  Available at many supermarkets.  Serve it up with a small bag of whole grain pitas, crackers, or baby carrots.  These are great examples of healthy fats and protein.
    6. Homemade “Lunchables.”  Pre-bag non-processed cheese slices, whole grain crackers and nitrate-free lunch meat....that's much healthier (and cheaper) than what you get at the store!
    7. Fresh fruit. Grapes, berries, and Clementine oranges make great school lunch desserts.
    8. Apple slices.  Soak fresh-cut apple slices in water and lemon juice for about 5 minutes, then let them air dry and they won’t turn brown.
    9. Need more ideas?...check out this great feature from Williams-Sonoma
Wellness In the News


School starts too early...says the American Academy of Pediatrics 
This article from Scientific American MIND highlights the statements from the AAP, citing the biological need for more sleep during adolescence.  They found later start times were correlated to improved performance, increased attendance, and less depression.  

Women juggling career and family are feeling the crunch of work-life imbalance and dropping out...but should they have to?

A compelling survey by Fierce, Inc. shows an overwhelming majority of women cite work/life imbalance as a major source of stress, and cause of negative impact to their health,  including depression, weight gain and loss of sleep.  Outdated and inflexible workplace policies are rightfully called out for meaningful change.

The end of the home cooked family dinner? Hmm...let's draw the right conclusion.

I know first hand that managing the dinner hour for a family after a full day's work is a major time and energy consumer.  But, don't throw out the benefits of gathering with the family for dinner. Instead, with some creativity, meal planning, and revised expectations you can still gather at the end of the day to connect and to share.  Consider using more healthy frozen side dishes such as from Trader Joe's, take advantage of pre-cut and cleaned vegetables, try paper plates and/or napkins to speed clean up, and make sure everyone who can help has a chore!  

A Word about Soy, from Memorial Sloan Kettering
This release from Memorial Sloan Kettering suggests that even a moderate amount of soy in the diet of those studied led to an overexpression of the genes associated with cancer growth.  While the study was not conclusive, it may suggest that limiting soy consumption is beneficial.
September Life Balance Tip:  
Practice saying it with me....No.

Such a simple word, and yet so powerful.  As the forms and sign-up sheets pour in from school and community, take a moment to consider how much time you really have and how want to spend it.  Many women have found themselves feeling trapped in a cycle of saying yes, when they really want to say no.  Choose a few things that matter most to you or that you do very well, and let someone else take the rest!
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