The back-to-school season comes with a flurry of things to carry, both in your mind (so many lists!) and in your kids’ backpacks. Research shows that kids are actually carrying too much weight in their school bags, causing poor posture and soreness. To make back-to-school prep more fun, allow kids to choose whenever possible while shopping for supplies and keep it simple. Pack these 5 things in your student’s backpack for a lighter load without skimping on the essentials!

Water bottle. Staying hydrated makes a huge difference in kids’ energy, brain function, and performance throughout the day. Pay attention to the signs of dehydration and encourage your child to drink and refill throughout the day. Send them empty to make bags lighter but give kids a number of refills to aim for each day to make it fun.

Lunch box. Like staying hydrated, a light lunch box stocked with healthy snacks, whole foods, and clean protein is the golden ticket to better concentration, sustained energy, and feeling great at school. Growing bodies need healthy fats for optimal brain development and function and clean protein for muscle development and recovery. Consider Orgain ready to drink protein shakes for kids instead of school milk cartons for an organic nutritional boost they can look forward to.

Supplies. Stick to the basics to avoid over-packing. Number two pencils, an eraser, pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc. can be pared down to what is needed to keep their bags from turning into a tornado too early in the semester. Stick to your child’s official school supply list and re-use items from the previous year to avoid duplicates and clutter.

Weather gear. Depending on where you live, back to school may mean tucking an SPF stick into your kid’s backpack for sunny outdoor recess or a packable raincoat for drizzly days. Whether it’s a change of clothes for gym class or a sweater for chilly mornings, kids will be more comfortable at school if they are prepared for changing conditions.

Something fun. Kids love to collect things and tell the world about their favorites. At the beginning of the school year, let them choose something small, an enamel pin, keychain, a backpack charm or patch to personalize their backpack and get excited about a new school year without weighing them down. Allowing kids to choose something for their bag helps them take ownership of their school things and it’s safer than having their name embroidered or printed on their bag.