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Back-to-School Guide for Parents: Maintaining Nutrition & Fitness Progress Through the Mayhem

Back to school

Practical tips to help you stay on track with your health and fitness when life gets crazy.


The temperatures may not be getting cooler any time soon (at least not in Texas…); however, the back-to-school season is officially upon us. 

If you’re a parent, this time of year can be a whirlwind of activities, appointments, and endless to-do lists. Amidst the organized chaos, that healthy diet and exercise routine you’ve worked so hard to build is generally the first thing to go out the window…

But it doesn’t have to be.  

The fact of the matter is, it’s impossible to do everything perfectly, but with the right smart focus, you can easily navigate this crazy transition time and still keep up with those goals you’ve worked so hard to achieve. 

Here are some simple, actionable tips to keep that health and fitness flame going during this back-to-school season.


Be an Aggressive Planner 

Mother planning her week

Planning is an absolute must, especially during this season. Never ever leave your food or exercise to chance. 

Just as you plan your kids' schedules, take a moment to plan your meals and workouts for the week, or even just for the day. 

If you prefer planning the full week out, do that! If you’re unsure what life will throw at you day-to-day, then instead, do what I call a “Day Plan.”

Take 3-5 minutes each morning, when you’re fresh and have that beginning-of-the-day confidence to plan out your meals. Just write out loosely what you will eat and commit to sticking to that plan. 

The plan should not be restrictive - it’s just something you feel confident you can adhere to. However, once you finish it, you’ll want to look it over and ask yourself, “is this plan in line with my goals?”

After you finish writing out your food choices for the day, schedule your exercise like a meeting you can’t miss.

Simply having a written plan you can refer back to will do wonders in helping you stay on track, even when life is complete mayhem.


Rise and Shine for a Power-Packed Breakfast 

Healthy high protein breakfast

Mornings can be a whirlwind of backpacks, forgotten assignments, and hurried kisses goodbye before the bus pulls away…

Don't let the morning madness derail your nutrition!

Let me preface this tip by saying that it is not necessary to eat first thing in the morning, especially if you don’t feel hungry right away.

However, numerous studies show that a protein-centric breakfast can help with mental focus, mood regulation, and weight loss. It also helps reduce cravings later in the day, which is important because our willpower generally wanes as the day goes on (1, 2, 3, 4). 

Now, you don’t need to force yourself to eat breakfast first thing in the morning if you’re not hungry. In fact, I would recommend against that.

Instead, plan and prep a protein-packed breakfast and then simply wait to eat until you feel moderate hunger.

Ideas for a protein-packed breakfast: 

Woman drinking a breakfast smoothie

  1. Overnight oats with Greek yogurt or added protein powder

  2. Smoothies or smoothie bowls

  3. Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts

  4. Eggs, egg sandwiches, or egg wraps.


Embrace Quick and Effective Workouts 

Man and woman working out at home


During this season, fitting in a full workout might seem impossible, but the great news is that you can still get a ton of benefits from short, targeted workouts.

In fact, studies show that short, frequent bursts of activity spread throughout the day (as little as 4 minutes total per day) can significantly improve blood pressure, blood sugar control, and can even reduce cancer risk (5, 6).

Opt for quick and efficient exercises like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), a brisk 20-minute jog around the neighborhood, or even a few rounds of jumping jacks or stair climbing throughout the day.

These bursts of activity can easily fit into your busy schedule while providing significant health benefits.


Sleep, Glorious Sleep 

Woman with a sleeping mask


Do not neglect the importance of a good night's sleep! You know how your kids are with not enough sleep...and while you may think you're functional on little sleep, your whole body is not running as efficiently as it needs to.

In one of my previous articles, I went into detail about the immense health benefits that come from a good night’s sleep…but I think it’s important to reiterate just how important sleep is for health, weight loss, and overall well-being.

Bottom line: Adequate sleep (7-9 hours per night) supports weight loss, immune function, mood regulation, and can borderline make or break your ability to resist those cookies in the breakroom. 

Because the morning timeline is often set in stone, focus on adjusting the evenings to accommodate an earlier bedtime.

Work backwards: First figure out what you personally need to unwind at the end of the day, and how long the process takes. Then set a recurring bedtime alarm for yourself so that you’re in bed and asleep in time to get your 7-9 hours. 


Embrace Your Inner Problem Solver

Something will always get in your way of clean eating, sleeping enough, or exercising…if you let it. 

It's easy to let excuses take the steering wheel—those little voices telling us "I'm too busy," "I'll start tomorrow," or "I deserve a treat." But here's the truth: every obstacle is an opportunity for growth. And that’s exactly how I encourage my clients to approach challenges.

Whether it's a demanding schedule, social commitments, or a hectic day at work, these hurdles are mere challenges waiting to be conquered. Imagine the sense of accomplishment that comes with transforming barriers into stepping stones. 

Instead of letting excuses dictate your choices, prioritize the power of problem solving. Shut that negative voice out, make a plan, and witness the positive impact on your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. 

When you challenge yourself in the gym, you build physical muscle. When you challenge your mindset, you build mental muscle. And that enables you to continue making bigger and bigger lifestyle changes.

Remember, you're not just reshaping your body, you're cultivating a mindset that's as strong and resilient as your physical self. So, next time those excuses knock on your door, show them the way out with determination and a problem-solving spirit. 

Your goals are worth the effort, and you have the capability to conquer any excuse that tries to stand in your way.


Invest in Yourself

You don't have to do it all alone! As the back-to-school season ushers in added responsibilities and commitments, remember that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Investing in yourself means recognizing the value of expert guidance. A qualified nutrition professional can help you navigate the intricacies of your unique lifestyle, and can tailor strategies that align with your goals. 

Not only do they provide knowledge and expertise, but they also offer the invaluable gift of accountability—a partner to celebrate your victories and navigate the setbacks.

So, as you brave the bustling days ahead, consider the power of having a nutrition expert by your side. By taking this step, you're not just investing in a service; you're investing in your own success, well-being, and the confident stride towards your aspirations. 

If you’re ready to invest in your results, you can schedule a free consultation with me here to see if working together is a good fit. Hope to talk to you soon!


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