For a Healthier Classroom, Make a Family Connection During Back-to-School

20, August 2014 9:00 AM

A friend who teaches at an elementary school shared a story about three different parents who brought in cupcakes on the same day to celebrate birthdays. She had no idea how to turn the sweets away, especially after the students saw them and became wide-eyed.

With this story in mind, I recently mentioned to her that the start of a new school year is a great time to enlist parents as your healthy eating allies! Let parents know how much you care about your student’s health right from the start of the school year. Below are a few ways to connect with families to ensure a healthy classroom  and well-nourished students:

  • Let your parents know that you’ll be teaching nutrition in the classroom and include nutrition topics in your family communications, such as your welcome letter (download), back-to-school night presentation and regular notices.
  • Create your own healthy classroom guidelines that shift the focus away from food or emphasize healthier snacks and share with parents. See our tips for healthier classroom parties for inspiration.
  • Ask parents to join your school's wellness committee or attend a meeting to enact healthy changes on campus. Share your school’s wellness policy with parents.
  • Check out our Parent Nutrition Education page for presentations and tips to share at parent/teacher conference meetings or back-to-school night.
  • Support students' excitement for bringing home the nutrition concepts they learn by having them write letters or draw pictures to share with their families.
  • Email or download healthy tip sheets that you can send home.

Families are the foundation for keeping students healthy, so set the tone early to ensure a healthy school year. How will you get parents on your side as healthy eating allies?

Megan Mirijanian, Community Nutrition Adviser

Tags: back-to-school healthy classroom healthy students school wellness wellness policies
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

August Wellness Wake-Up Call!

07, August 2014 8:00 AM

August is National Immunization Awareness Month!

Looking to improve your health and wellness in the workplace or at home? Here is your monthly Wellness Wake-Up Call. 

Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month highlights the importance of immunization across the lifespan, encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases. Many of you may be preparing for back to school – while getting your kids ready for school, make sure you're up to date on immunizations, too!

Try the Cucumber and Tomato Tangy Yogurt Salad, a perfect summer dish. Light and refreshing!

Many of us compromise our posture by slouching at the desk. Perform the row exercise to improve your posture and strengthen your back.

Read more and share the print-friendly version of the August Workplace Wellness Newsletter with colleagues or friends interested in health topics, delicious recipes and physical activity moves. 

Dairy Council of California offers free monthly Workplace Wellness Newsletters as part of our Workplace Wellness Resources

Tags: Healthy eating nutrition education workplace wellness
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

Healthy Foods: What to drink on a hot summer day

05, August 2014 8:00 AM

Many of us are searching for ways to beat the heat of summer. It’s important to stay well hydrated during these warm days, particularly if you are active. Children sometimes forget to stop playing in order to drink water, so provide them with a clear bottle so you can be sure they are drinking and refilling their container.

When it's hot, the best drink throughout the day is water. You can amp up your fluids with whole fruits. Add sliced fruit to water for a fun flavor instead of pouring fruit juices or sports drinks. Offer milk at meals to help with hydration and try a yogurt and fruit smoothie for snack. Cool down while keeping your fluids up with this Watermelon smoothie. This strategy rehydrates you while giving you important nutrients. Learn more by downloading this tip sheet or watching a slide show on Rethink Your Drink.

What's your favorite way to stay hydrated when it's hot?

Trina Robertson, M.S., R.D.N.



Tags: Healthy eating healthy foods healthy kids healthy summer hydration
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating for Kids

Weekly Family Meals: August

01, August 2014 8:00 AM

Frequent blog readers may have missed the Weekly Family Meals listings here on the blog. In order to better meet the needs of our readers who may plan and shop on a monthly or twice-monthly basis, we'll be previewing our balanced family meal recipes and themes on a monthly basis, starting in August. We'll still feature the full description and text each week in the Healthy Eating, Meals + Recipes section of the website, but blog readers will get a sneak peek at what's in store for your family meals.

August Family Meal Preview (all recipes and themes subject to change)

Summer Produce

Featuring Corn + Broccoli Calzones, Bean Salad and Rhubarb Fool; plus California Summer Salad, Chunky Gazpacho Salad With Citrus Scallops, Cheese Herb Zucchini and Chicken with Oranges and Avocados.

Peachy Keen

Featuring Jalapeno Red Bean BBQ Burgers, Fruit Juice Cooler and Roasted Peach Sundaes; plus Peaches and Kale Salad, Pork Fajitas, Chicken with Gingered Peaches and Peach and Gorgonzola Pizza.


Featuring Zu-Canoes, Garlic Good Crab Cakes and Fruity Yogurt Parfaits; plus Stuffed Zucchini, Zucchini Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Enchiladas, Zucchini Rice Casserole and Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Featuring Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Tuscan Tomato Turkey Burgers and Berries with Custard Sauce; plus Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad, Ribollita Sicilian Supper Stew With Peppered Cheese Melts, Toasty Cheese Bruschetta and Panzanella Caprese.


Tags: family meals Healthy eating menus recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

Healthy Kids: Summertime, and the livin' is easy

23, July 2014 8:58 AM

Ah, summertime…vacations, sun and barbecues. The time of year where kids can be kids and parents have sleepless nights trying to figure out how to keep their kid’s brains from turning into mush and healthy habits flying out the door to a distant galaxy. When kids miss out on the opportunity to flex their brain power during the summer months it can be as harmful to their physical health as it is to their academic health. So, as a parent what can you do to keep your kids healthy and sneak in some education at the same time? to the rescue!

Easy Solutions

Games like Power Up Your Breakfast, where kids learn how to eat a healthy and balanced breakfast, and the MyPlate Match Game that teaches kids about the five food groups can help keep learning on the menu this summer. Teens can get involved too by using TeenBeat to track their daily physical activity. Our interactive games are a great way to keep your kids focused on nutrition throughout the summer months – and beyond! 

Get Cookin’

Summer is also a great time to introduce your child to planning and preparing meals to reinforce learning and nutrition. While children as young as 3 can help scrub potatoes or tear lettuce, once children reach school age, they can take a more active role in meal preparation. Learning to follow a recipe is a life skill that all children need and is applicable to many aspects of life even out of the kitchen. Some of my favorite summertime memories involve being in the kitchen with my Mom and two older brothers (I had to really stand my ground with my brothers if I wanted to help at all) making ice cream during those hot California summers.

Start by having your child choose from an array of kid-friendly recipes and gather all of the ingredients. During preparation, discuss each food group food that is being used and why it is important for them to eat every day. For “extra credit” ask your child how many servings of that food they need every day to be strong and healthy. Having your child measure out the ingredients and reading food labels is a great way to reinforce math skills. Involving your child in meal preparation is a perfect learning opportunity and a great way to spend time with your family!

While summer is a time for kids to be carefree, it’ not a time to take a vacation from good nutrition and learning! How will you keep your healthy kids active this summer?

Megan Mirijanian, Community Nutrition Adviser

Tags: Healthy eating kid- friendly recipes kids online games
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating for Kids

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