KIND Teacher Snacks and Lunches + Self Care

KIND teacher snacks and lunches and self-care Everyday Teacher Style

The Teacher Self-Care Dilemma

If you’re a teacher, or anyone else who does not have time for breaks throughout the day (hello, stay-at-home mom!), it’s easy to get run down. For many years I would pack what I call a “walking” lunch, which is a lunch you can eat while walking to and from the bathroom, and nothing else. Due to the active nature of the job, my stomach would be growling both during the morning and in the afternoon. Nobody likes feeling “hangry,” and as a teacher it’s especially important to be able to keep your cool. I just figured that was one of the list of negative aspects of the job, along with not being able to go to the bathroom. Over the past few years, I’ve discovered I was wrong about not being able to grab a quick snack during the school day! Today I’m sharing how I achieved a little more balance through simple self-care via snacking. This post is in partnership with KIND snacks, which have been a tasty part of my teacher snacking lineup for the past several years. Oh, and check below for a special coupon code!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Shopping via these links means I may earn a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own, and I only share products and brands that I love and think you will, too.
Everyday Teacher Style KIND protein bar for a snack

Take 15% off a single purchase with code TEACHERSTYLE15 at KINDsnacks.com 2/15-3/31/20.

#teacherproblems

Several years ago I started working out 6 days a week, drinking lots more water, and attempting to eat 6 smaller meals a day (read this post to find out why). While the results of these lifestyle changes have been transformational (read about that here and here), it has also made it harder to get through the school day. I used to go all day without using the restroom, but increasing my water intake means I can’t do that anymore.

Eating 6 meals a day is NOT easy when you you’re a teacher with no time to use the restroom, let alone eat something outside of lunch. Even with a “30-minute” lunchtime, the first and last 5-10 minutes of the lunch period are taken up with students coming and going and talking with you. The middle 10-15 minutes requires a trip to the restroom (last chance until 3:30!), and the closest one is halfway across the building from my classroom. Thus, the “walking lunch”: something I can eat with my hands while walking. As part of the whole 6 small meals a day thing, I need a snack mid-morning and another during the afternoon. As a teacher, I don’t like the idea of eating with a class of students in the room, and there isn’t enough time between classes to eat something due to getting things ready for the next class or talking with students. What’s a teacher to do?

Everyday Teacher Style eating KIND protein bars for a snack while in the classroom

Teacher Snacks

In the past I tried bringing apples and peanut butter, trail mixes, and cheese sticks for teacher snacks, and these were okay because I could eat them while walking during my prep period, but they were often messy and didn’t always fill me up.

Over the last few years, I’ve found that I really need easy-to-eat “walking” teacher snacks with a good mix of protein and carbs (and taste). I’ve tried tons of protein bars, but they’re either too sweet, too chewy, too processed, or they don’t have the mix of protein and carbs that I’m looking for. Then I found KIND snacks!

I’ll admit I didn’t try the KIND protein bars at first because they were a little more expensive than some of the “cheap” protein bars and snacks I had tried. But once I tried them, I realized that not only are they really tasty, but they have the ability to keep me FULL for a few hours afterward, unlike so many others. I think it’s the fact that they have a more natural mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Whatever it is, I have time to down a KIND Protein Bar, or at even just half of one if pressed, on the way to the restroom during my prep period in the morning, and that keeps my hunger at bay until lunchtime.

Everyday Teacher Style eating KIND protein granola with yogurt for lunch while in the classroom

Take 15% off a single purchase with code TEACHERSTYLE15 at KINDsnacks.com 2/15-3/31/20.

Teacher Lunches

As mentioned, I always eat a “walking” lunch. I’d love to be able to sit and leisurely enjoy a midday meal, but as a teacher, we all know that’s not going to happen. Well, unless it’s the weekend. When kids aren’t in the room, that’s work time, and I’d rather work as hard as I can while at school so I can be 100% HOME in the evenings, not grading or planning for the next school day. Keeping school at school and home at home is one of the best things I’ve tried to do over the years. It’s not always possible, but I’ve found it is absolutely necessary in order to avoid burnout and stick with teaching for the long haul.

One of my current favorite walking lunches is overnight oats made with coconut milk, a scoop of protein powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, and sometimes a little matcha green tea powder. I bring it in a shaker type container and drink it like a thick shake. My other favorite lunch is Greek yogurt with KIND dark chocolate or peanut butter protein granola. There are so many yummy combos: cherry-vanilla yogurt with chocolate granola, honey yogurt with peanut butter granola, coconut yogurt with chocolate granola, etc. Just yesterday I had a tub of vanilla Greek yogurt with both KIND chocolate AND peanut butter healthy grains protein granola mixed in. Delicious! You get the idea. I toss a tub of Greek yogurt and a little Ziploc baggie of granola into my lunch box with an ice pack, and I can dump the granola into the yogurt and eat it with a spoon as I’m heading down the hall. You know, to the bathroom. LOL.

Everyday Teacher Style desk lunch with KIND chocolate protein granola

Self Care and KINDness

Teaching is mentally and physically exhausting enough without also being hungry and uncomfortable. Even if you feel like you have no time, there are ways you can squeeze in good, healthy food in the form of “walking” teacher snacks and lunches. But on top of that, you need to make time to exercise, drink water, and take care of your family, friends, and home life. If you don’t, you won’t have a very long career in teaching.

Here are 5 ways you can be kind to yourself:

  • Rest when you need to: naps, “mental health” day off, stay home when sick.
  • Make your health a priority: sleep, water, exercise, healthy food. Even if you’re walking when you eat it.
  • Be efficient: streamline, delegate, simplify whenever possible.
  • Say no: protect your family and evening time, and you do NOT need to be on every committee.
  • Be grateful: Think about the things you’re grateful for (faith, family, friends) and focus on those things. Treat each day as a special gift: because it is.

If you’re a stressed out teacher like I sometimes am, check out these other posts on the topic:

What are some ways that you practice self-care as a teacher (or anyone with a super-busy, stressful lifestyle)?

KIND Snacks Promo Code

And just for you, my friends, I’ve got a special discount code!

Take 15% off a single purchase with code TEACHERSTYLE15 at KINDsnacks.com 2/15-3/31/20.

Enjoy! Be KIND to yourself and snack on.

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teacher lunch with KIND chocolate protein granola and Greek yogurt

DIY Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes + Labels

Everyday Teacher Style DIY Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes and Labels

If you’re like me, you’ll spend extra for household cleaners made with safer, more natural products. And who am I kidding…I’m a huge sucker for pretty bottles and labels. On top of that, scent is really important to me when choosing cleaning products. So although I still love Mrs. Meyer’s and other brands for their great scents and pretty packing, I decided to save some money by making my own cleaning sprays. Today I’m sharing my DIY cleaning recipes for all-purpose counter spray, glass cleaner, daily shower spray, and dusting spray, plus some printable labels to make them look pretty enough to leave out on the counter.

Everyday Teacher Style DIY Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes, Glass & Mirror, All-Purpose, Dusting Spray, and Daily Shower Cleaner
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Shopping via these links means I may earn a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. As always all opinions expressed here are 100% my own, and I only share products and brands that I love and think you will, too.

Ingredients & Supplies

The only ingredients I used for all four of these sprays was white distilled vinegar, distilled water, 70% rubbing alcohol (you can swap this out for vodka for the same cleaning power, but less “alcohol” scent), olive oil, a tiny bit of dish soap, and essential oils.

Essential Oils for Cleaning

You can use whatever essential oils you want, really, but I love adding citrus cents like lemon and orange for clean, fresh smell along with the cleaning boost. If you want even more antibacterial properties, add in some tea tree, oregano, cinnamon, or clove oil. A quick trip around Google will give you more info on which oils are best against various types of bacteria. In addition, you can add scents for their mood-boosting properties. For example, peppermint is refreshing and uplifting, and lavender is soothing and relaxing.

All of the oils I use are from Edens Garden. (I love their “Intro Kit,” which comes with the 6 oils I use most: lemon, orange, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus.) There are so many sources for oils, but I like the idea of being able to order them whenever I want and not have to go through friends or other people. Nothing against MLM companies – just a personal preference. I love Edens Garden oils: they’re great quality and an affordable option.

Everyday Teacher Style Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes Edens Gardens Oils

Supplies

BOTTLES: I purchased glass spray bottles for my essential oil cleaning sprays because essential oils can break down plastics over time. Light, heat, and oxygen cause oxidation (breakdown) of essential oils, so if you’re going to keep your spray bottles out on the counter, you’ll probably want to get blue glass bottles or amber glass bottles to block more light.

LABELS: I made my own labels and printed them on 3″ label sheets. I got waterproof white labels because I figured my cleaning supplies might get splashed sometime. You can also get glossy transparent 3″ labels, which I think would be really pretty on clear, untinted glass bottles. See below for more information on these labels.

Tip: If you’re printing your own labels, let them dry before putting them on the bottles. Scroll down to see what happens if the bottles get splashed before the printer ink on the labels dries…. ๐Ÿ™

MICROFIBER CLOTHS: You can use whatever you want to wipe the sprays when you clean, but my personal preference is microfiber cloths. Paper towels obviously have to be thrown away after each use, and they often leave lint on shiny surfaces like glass, mirrors, and appliances. Plus, microfiber cloths are great for gripping and trapping dust and other particles. I bought a big cheap set of microfiber cloths and just wash them every week.

Tip: Don’t use dryer sheets to dry your microfiber cloths! Dryer sheets can destroy the positive charge and clog the fibers with a waxy residue, making them pretty much useless. Instead, toss in a few wool dryer balls (with a few drops of your favorite essential oils!) and/or a ball of aluminum foil to reduce static.

Everyday Teacher Style All Purpose Cleaner and Glass and Mirror Cleaner DIY Essential Oils all natural recipes

Cleaning Spray Recipes

Here are the cleaning spray recipes I use, along with some tips and thoughts. Scroll down for a set of printable labels with these recipes on them.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1-1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 15 drops essential oils

For the all-purpose cleaner, I love using citrusy essential oils like lemon and orange, but sometimes I’ll go with lavender or peppermint to mix things up.

Glass Cleaner

  • 1-1/2 cup distilled water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
  • 3 drops essential oils

If you clean nothing else with microfiber cloths, I suggest at least using them to clean your glass and mirrors to eliminate streaks and lint. Peppermint is one of my favorite essential oils for glass cleaner, but you can really use almost any type for the scent you like.

Daily Shower Spray

  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/2 teaspoon dish soap
  • 8 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 8 drops other essential oil

The tea tree oil in this shower spray has some antibacterial properties. Give the spray a shake before spritzing it all over your shower walls and floor after taking a shower.

Dusting Spray

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon castile soap (optional)
  • 15 drops lemon or orange essential oil

Lemon and orange essential oils are great for extra cleaning power and that yummy citrus scent. You can also blend lemon and orange together instead of using just one type. I like to use a little extra olive oil in this spray in the winter months to protect my wood furniture from the dry air and give it a bit more polish. When you use this spray, be sure to shake it well before using each time. Once shaken, spray onto your microfiber cloth (or directly onto the wood surface if you prefer) and give the wood surface a good rubbing and polish.

Everyday Teacher Style DIY Essential Oil Dusting Spray Recipe
This stuff cleans and gives wood such a nice luster!

Spray Bottle Labels

Okay, now for the labels. As I said above, I bought printable 3″ x 3″ labels in both white waterproof and clear glossy. I love the idea of being able to customize the label and make it pretty. But even better, you can make your own labels and put the recipe right on them so it’s there for reference when you need to mix up a new batch of cleaner. Want to change your recipe or make a new cleaning product? Just make a new label!

DIY Essential Oil all natural cleaning spray bottle labels example

Feel free to download a FREE printable PDF set of labels with my recipes as shown here. If can’t find 3″ x 3″ labels, you can always use a full size sheet of adhesive label paper and cut them out. Or, I can make labels for you! Visit my ETSY STORE for details on how to get a complete set of labels shipped to you. You can even request your own custom recipe labels if you’d like labels for different recipes or cleaning solutions.

Tip: After printing the labels, let them COMPLETELY dry before you put them on the bottles. See the image below for what can happen if you don’t.

Everyday Teacher Style DIY Daily Shower Cleaner Essential Oils recipe - example of smeared ink due to label ink not being dry

Keeping It Clean

You guys, these pretty bottles and sweet smelling sprays have motivated me to clean more often. The pretty labels and bottles mean I can keep them out on display on the counters, and when they’re in sight, they get more use. Plus, I’m eager to use these all up so I can make more and experiment with different essential oil scents. And there was an unexpected bonus: my son thinks it’s fun to clean with them (!). Best of all, these homemade cleaners work just as well as the more expensive ones I used to buy at the store: check out how they helped deep clean my old oven.

I want to experiment with additional products like floor cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and sink scrubs, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Shoot me your ideas and tips: what are your favorite oil scent combos and cleaning recipes?

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