Packing Your Child a Healthy School Lunch

If a trip to Target is any indication, the school year is just around the corner. The colorful school supplies are in abundance and according to my daughter, Natalie, she “needs” at least one of each item. The new school clothes are grabbing her brother Lucas’ attention. And, since his twin, Jacob, remembers the P.E. teacher saying, “Your shoes need to be clean on the bottom to participate in gym.” he lifts his foot to show me how he “has to have a new pair of gym shoes .” Even though the enthusiasm for these new supplies wears off quickly, I love their excitement as they get a fresh start at the beginning of a school year. The truth is it feels good for me to have a fresh start as a mom. I get to begin the year being more organized than I was at the end of the last school year, with no searches for lost paperwork for at least two to three weeks hopefully. Our morning routine will be tweaked to be smoother. Our homework places will be cleaned and ready for practicing all that new learning – and no whining about doing homework for at least a few days. And, I’ll dig out our Laptop Lunch Boxes and start thinking about packing healthy lunches.

You see, of the things we spend time and money on each August as we get our children ready to go back to school, one of the most important things we can be planning for is making sure our child eats a healthy lunch every day. For our child to be on top of his or her game at school – focused, enthusiastic, good behavior, healthy – Real Food needs to be fueling his or her body. A lunch with healthy protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and lots of phytonutrients is key. What does that look like in a lunch box? A healthy protein might be nitrate-free deli meat, Sunbutter, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs or a black bean burrito. Healthy fats can include nuts, seeds, avacados or full-fat yogurt. A variety of whole grains and colorful fruits and vegetables provide complex carbohydrates as well as the phytonutrients for a healthy immune system. This combination of foods helps feed the brain for sustained focus and good behavior, as well as providing a stable source of energy.

One of the best things you can do to help your child be a successful learner, be on his or her best behavior, and have the strongest immune system possible throughout the school year is to plan out and prepare your child a healthy school lunch.

When we pack a lunch of Real Foods, we eliminate Fake Food ingredients that set our children up for being unhealthy and less successful at school. When lunch items are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors like Red 40 and Yellow 5, and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, children’s bodies are burdened with processing those Fake Food ingredients. Children are reacting to these ingredients with poor focus, fatigue, hyperactivity, and weakened immunity.

A recent comprehensive meta-analysis of the medical literature concluded that Yellow 5, Red 40, and six other widely used artificial colorings are linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children. (

If, for cost or convenience your child is purchasing a school lunch, go over the menu ahead of time and choose which items your child is allowed to purchase. With your child, pick the healthiest lunch choices possible. If you have questions about ingredients, contact your school and ask. Also let your school know if you would like to see healthier choices made available. Find out if your child is purchasing ala carte items, like ‘fruit’ roll-ups, chips, and other Fake Foods. If you have children in middle school and high school, talk about healthy choices, as they have more opportunities to purchase Fake Foods. It is important not to hand over your opportunity and responsibility for feeding your child to schools and daycares.

So, while enjoying your last weeks of summer, remember to put ‘packing healthy lunches’ near the top of your To Do list as you get ready for your well-deserved fresh start this Fall.

Deciding on a School Maintenance and Cleaning Contractor

Schools should be clean and tidy, well maintained and in a good state of repair at all times. This will ensure a pleasant, functional and hygienic environment for children and staff. It will also guarantee that your school is complaint with government health and safety regulations.

The large volume of people using the building can cause a rapid build-up of mess and dirt. In order to reach an acceptable standard of cleanliness, you must ensure that your school is cleaned every day. It also needs to be checked over regularly by qualified school maintenance staff. However, managing in-house school cleaning and maintenance staff can be expensive and time consuming. I therefore suggest outsourcing contractors to help bring down your school’s operational costs.

What to Look for in Your School Cleaning and Maintenance Services

Choosing the right school maintenance and cleaning contractor depends on a number of key factors.

First of all, you can single out reputable contractors by checking their client lists and asking for references. If they work for higher-profile clients who have great things to say, you’re onto a winner.

The company should also operate outside of school hours for minimal lesson disturbance. Make sure you choose a school cleaning firm that offers flexible working hours. Cleaning duties should be conducted either early in the morning or late in the afternoon / evening, with larger jobs being carried out over the weekend.

You should also ensure that the company you choose for your school cleaning services understands exactly what there is to do, and defines what duties are to be carried out on a daily and/or weekly basis. This leaves no room for misunderstanding.

When looking through the company’s school maintenance and cleaning policies, check that they have suitable measures in place to ensure that they are meeting government health and safety regulations as well as the guidelines set out by COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health).

You should also check their policy for hiring staff. Since they are to be given access to school property, the company must ensure that all school cleaning and maintenance staff are suitably qualified and experienced and have undergone adequate screening. Background checks are essential, even if the staff will be working when the children are not in the building.

Make sure the contract you sign has a provision for compensation, applicable in the event that the standard of cleaning isn’t up to scratch.

Many cleaning companies are now offering greener school cleaning services, using environmentally friendly cleaning materials where possible. Be sure to consider this when choosing your school cleaning contractor.