Healthy & Green Back to School Tips

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It’s back to school time again, are you prepared? For many eco-conscious families, this means going green as much as possible where school-related needs are concerned. In doing so, you’ll be uplifted by the knowledge that you’re making a measurable difference, while also setting a great example for your children. These tips can help:

Choose planet-friendly school supplies

Before you invest in new school supplies, seek out any items left over from last year that can be reused. When new supplies are needed, opt for recycled alternatives where you can. Visit http://www.theultimategreenstore.com for green, reasonably priced pencils, pens, crayons, paper, notebooks, binders and more. Bonus: this site donates a portion of sales to provide eco-friendly academic supplies to schools in need nationwide.

Simplify apparel

Many families wishing to consume less in general may pass on the August “back to school” mall frenzy. While school can seem like a fashion show at times, many kids prefer simple, comfortable shorts, jeans, T-shirts, sandals, sneakers, etc. In fact, fancy outfits and high-heeled shoes can be distracting to kids both in the classroom and on the playground. When you do buy, consider gently used shoes/clothing, which is both green and budget-smart.

Create healthy, zero waste lunches

To trim school lunch waste, phase out single-serving/packaged items, and swap disposable bags, containers, plastic bottles, napkins and utensils for cost-effective, reusables like those found here: http://www.theultimategreenstore.com/. Switching to eco-friendly bottles allows you to send low-sugar beverages like caffeine-free iced tea or juice diluted with water. Include whole grain sandwiches with low-fat cheese, peanut butter, or soy cream cheese along with fresh fruit, veggie sticks, nuts, oatmeal bars, etc.

Minimize the germ factor

When so many kids suddenly come together again, a plethora of germs gathers as well. Hand sanitizers can help, but frequent hand washing with plain soap and water is best. You can also help boost little immune systems year round by including a packet of Kidz EmergenC with lunches. Children can add the packet to their water at school, adding fruity flavor, as well as trusty vitamin C and other key nutrients. http://www.emergenc.com/

Consider backpack safety

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) estimates that over 50% of students carry backpacks heavier than the recommended guidelines. To avoid issues like back or muscle pain, impaired circulation or fatigue, select a lightweight model for your child with wide, padded shoulder straps. It should also have multiple compartments to allow the weight of the contents─essentials only─to be distributed more evenly. Ergonomically designed packs are ideal.
Along with your own great ideas, these tactics can help get the ball rolling. Cheers to happy, healthy families─and a fabulous new school year!

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