Back to school season is nearly officially here, can you believe it? If you’re a busy parent on-the-go looking for great after-school snack ideas, and tips on how your kids can transition from summer to back to school easily and efficiently, you’re in luck! Just For Mom founder, mom of four and parenting expert, Tara Paterson was kind enough to join me recently for our annual back to school interview! Tara dished on some of her favorite healthy snack ideas, and shared tips to ensure your kids get their homework done on time and without a hitch.
Candace Rose: How can parents get their kids ready for the upcoming school year?
Tara Paterson: “As a mom of four kids that’s obviously very busy, and organization is key, so like I always talk about – pre-planning is important. The night before I have the kids lay out their clothes, but also I like to pre-pack their lunches so I’m not worried about it in the morning and the morning flows a bit more effortlessly. People often ask me ‘What kinds of snacks do you put in your kids lunch?’ Obviously we try to stay away from sugary snacks, so I have a great suggestion for that – Wonderful Pistachios are a perfect addition to lunches. They’re delicious, they’re nutritious. A lot of people won’t think of nuts for lunches but kids love pistachios because they get to break them open. They have fun flavors like Sweet Chili. I like Salt and Pepper. They’re just a really great accompaniment to lunches.
Of course as we’re moving into back to school, school supplies are always top of the list. There are always new designs, fun patterns and things like that, so I have some suggestions for that – these Post-it Super Sticky notes from the World of Color Collection are perfect for students, especially for students who are taking more difficult courses like science or math and they might have to jot down facts. It keeps it organized, they can put them anywhere. If they’re getting ready in the morning they can put one on the mirror. If they have to study up for school, they’re right there for them. This is perfect, and they’re colorful and fun.
We want our kids to be creative, to express themselves and what better way to do that than to let them decorate and personalize their school supplies! Scotch Brand has a great line, these Expressions tapes are fun, they have over 100 different designs, so there’s something for everyone. It allows them to be creative, to decorate notebooks and folders. And then for projects, they also have a Thermal Laminator, which is really, really cool because if you have one that spills like I do, laminating projects is probably a good idea so they don’t get ruined and have to do it over again.
One of the things that I’m often asked about – the transition between after school and after school activities – ‘What kind of snacks should I give my kids? I don’t want to spoil dinner but I want it to be healthy?’ So, I have a great suggestion for that! We want our kids to eat more vegetables and it is a proven fact that kids will eat more vegetables when dipped in ranch dressing. These Dip Cups from Hidden Valley are perfect for that. They’re convenient for on-the-go, they’re super easy to put in a backpack, and for moms who may not have time to eat, this is perfect because they are perfectly proportioned in size, so it’s just a great snack all around for everybody.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Tara Paterson: “Well, definitely another thing that I’m asked a lot is how can you make sure that you have dinner on the table every night because it’s hard to come home say if you’re working all day or you’ve got kids and practices, how can I have a good meal on the table? So, I always suggest that you make twice as much as whatever you’re making. If you’re making sauce, double the batch so you can freeze half of it and then therefore you have your meal for that night, but something you can pull out of the freezer later on.
Of course I’m a big advocate for the Crock Pot, I’ve talked about that before! Pop it on in the morning, and you’re good to go when you get home.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you for the great tips, Tara! Where can we go for more information?
Tara Paterson: “Well, you can visit my website at JustForMom.com, but you can also visit the companies websites: GetCrackin.com for the Wonderful Pistachios, Postit.com, ScotchBrand.com, and HiddenValley.com. You can also find more tips for study techniques, recipes and other things for great suggestions on lunches, etc.”