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Back to School


Stay Healthy All School Year By Megan Howard


store or buying a new pair of jeans and some sneakers. Consider these issues before the first bell sounds. You are what you eat Packing lunch ensures that you


B


control what fuels your child’s body.     - ommends making lunch a family ac- tivity—kids usually want to eat what they’ve helped prepare. Let your child choose from a variety of easy-to-pack snacks, like cheese sticks, whole fruits, and crackers. And if your morning is rushed, try packing lunch in the evening before bedtime. But sometimes packing isn’t


always practical, and school-provided lunches become necessary. In January 2012, the federal government upped standards for school meals—the first revision in 15 years—that will make them healthier. Among the require- ments are an offering of fruits and veg- gies every day, along with more whole- grain foods, and reducing the amount saturated fat, trans fats, and sodium in


ack-to-school preparation means more than just toting a list of classroom items to the


the foods. All the preparation in the


world, though, won’t help if your child gets to school and swaps his or her car- rot sticks for someone else’s pudding cup.


“Like most habits, healthy eat-


ing begins at home,” says Jaylene Soulek, Blackwell Middle School Principal. “If good food choices are all a child has grown up with,


he


or she will be more likely to cont inue mak- ing good choices at school and beyond.” Wash, wash, wash your hands Schools are breeding grounds


for illness, thanks to myriad shared surfaces and hygiene habits that are still a work in progress. Handwashing remains the first line of defense in pre- venting the sniffles. Warm running water and soap are the preferred tools to c l e a n hands. But in a pinch, alcohol- based hand sanitizers work, too (unless hands are grubby—


 Kay Electric Cooperative


then soap is the only way to go), ac-  Control.      - washing techniques,


which include


scrubbing the backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails, and washing for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing is necessary


around mealtimes (both for eating and preparing food) and after using the bath- room, touching animals, or han- dling trash. Also,


instill


in your child the necessity of using a tissue when sneezing


or coughing (or an elbow or shirt sleeve if tissues aren’t handy), and washing hands after. Staying safe


Before the start of each school


year, have a chat with your kids about safety—from walking or driving to school to how to handle a bully. En- courage them to take safety drills seri- ously.


“Emergency plans are in place


to protect your children,” Soulek stress-  routes and lockdown procedures, and obey teachers when these plans are en- acted.”


For more resources on school


safety, visit www.cdc.gov/Features/safe- schools.      Control; National Institutes of Health


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