Easy-breezy, Eco-friendly Back to School

It’s that time of year again where kids are dreading going back to school, while parents are eagerly pushing them out the door. As parents we do what we can to help our children have a successful and valuable school life experience. Helping our kids make healthy life choices early on ensures they’ll take those important lessons with them into adulthood.

My son is starting high school and it’s bittersweet for me because soon we’ll be thinking about college applications. But I still try to teach him to make healthy habits that I hope he’ll carry into adulthood. I try to instill values of the importance of a healthy school life balance. That includes eating well, getting enough sleep, and doing things that limits stress. But admittedly, school has become extremely stressful for children over the years. Too much competition within schools, peers, and even homelife. When I’m too stressed, I harken back to my younger years living at home with my folks and remember the balance that my own mom tried to teach me.

I’m going to list some of my tried and true, and favorite back to school tips and hacks. I wish I had more time during the day to make lavish breakfasts and lunches for my teenager, but most days that just won’t work out. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the Universe, and we can all pretty much agree that we want the best for our kids, no matter their ages.


  • To save time and money, try to reuse what you have. If their backpacks are still in great working order, doesn’t have ripped seams, and still have all the zippers and pockets in tack, then clean up the backpack and reuse it. Unless your child has really outgrown their backpack, reusing them from year to year is a great way to save money, time, and produce less waste in the landfill. If unable to reuse, you can always donate the backpack or do a trade with a friend.

  • To keep school work separate, give your kids their own work station. Create a box, crate, or cabinet just for their school work. This will help you and your child find things a lot easier. Rotate throughout the years with things you want to keep and toss.

  • Create a lunch station. This can easily be done in any household and will save you a lot of time in the morning. Depending on the ages of your children, gather snacks that are healthy, delicious, and easy to eat. See below for easy lunch station snacks and ideas.

  • Buy bulk when possible. Buying bulk helps reduce extra waste and saves time. But, buy only bulk items your family constantly uses. Separate the items into the lunch station and school work station.

  • Healthy school lunches is crucial for maintaining your child’s energy throughout the day. Depending on their ages, children’s lunches should include a balanced meal, especially if they don’t eat breakfast. Some schools throughout the US offers free lunch but not all of them offer a healthy lunch. See below for healthy and delicious lunch ideas.

  • Create a winding down time before bedtime. The first couple of weeks of school can be exciting and stressful so setting a bedtime routine early will help your child get back on track. Turn off electronics at least one hour before bedtime, try not to drink any beverages at least one hour before bedtime, and take a soothing shower or bath before going to bed.

  • Have some wholesome and delicious afterschool snack. Kids are tired, grumpy, and most likely hungry after school, so having some snacks at home ensures they’re eating healthy while relaxing. See below for yummy afterschool snack ideas.


Lunch from home should be quick, delicious, and healthy. Most students don’t have a lot of time to eat during lunch and recess because of the limited time for eating and playing. While you might be tempted (or insisted by your child) to pack conveniently bagged snacks you’d find in the supermarkets, they’re not all that healthy. It’s okay to include them once in awhile or limit to just one item in their lunch bag.

  • Yogurt squeeze – these yogurt squeezers or tubes are convenient and pack some needed nutrition and energy. They might not always be easy to open, so younger kids would need help opening them at school. Try to purchase yogurt squeezes that are low in sugar and fat as some brands hide the true value of nutrition by adding tons of sugar and artificial flavors and colors.

  • Cut or sliced fruits – fruits are nature’s best sugar so pack easy to eat ones such as grapes, sliced apples, sliced oranges, and berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Kids love to hold things in their hands so berries and sliced fruit are fun, delicious, and healthy!

  • Crackers and cheese snacks – choose whole wheat crackers and low sodium cheese. Cut cheese into cubes or thin slices so kids can make them into finger sandwiches if they want.

  • Yogurt Parfaits – a delicious, fun, and cute way of serving yogurt with fruit. Make it extra fancy by layering the yogurt, fruit, and any other toppings you have at home. Try these as a delicious after school snack for your kids.

  • Hummus and vegetables – these are great for school lunches or afterschool snacks. You can make homemade hummus or buy them at stores. Sliced vegetables such as carrots, radishes, and cucumbers pair well with hummus. Add fancier vegetables such as Haricot Verts, red and white carrots, asparagus, and endive for a special treat.

  • Hard-boiled eggs – most kids enjoy eggs whether they’re scrambled, fried, or hard boiled. Plus, they’re fun to peel and easy to eat. If you’re adding them to a school lunch, make sure you peel them first if your kids are little. This will save them time and frustration if they’re not used to peeling eggshells.

Try to avoid overly sugared lunch food. Kids will get that “sugar high” which isn’t beneficial to them or their teachers. Pack lunches that don’t spoil or keep an ice pack with their lunch containers. Be sure to pack them a reusable water bottle as schools should have a water refill station. Reusable utensils, and a sturdy lunch bag are necessary to create a safe and friendly environment for your child and everyone around them.

Best of luck for your school-aged children!

*photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

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