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Get Packing: Back-to-School Tips for a Healthier Lunchbox

27, August 2014 8:00 AM


Nothing says “back to school” like backpacks, school supplies and packing lunches. At the start of the school year, it’s easy  to forget about making time to pack a lunch during your busy morning routine.  Even if you are able to throw a lunch together before you’re out the door, you’re never quite sure if what you’ve packed will actually get eaten.  Where does the balance lie between packing a healthy lunch and providing foods kids will actually eat? 

Our Lunch Box printable has over 36 kid-friendly options to help you pack in all five food groups. This guide makes lunch-making easier. Simply choose from each category and you‘re good to go! Here are more great tips to help.

Time Saving Tips

If you decide to pack a lunch, plan and prepare the night before to ensure all five food groups are on tomorrow’s menu. Research shows that milk is often missing from lunches brought from home. Did you know your child can purchase milk from the school cafeteria? Milk and milk products provide essential nutrients like high-quality protein, calcium, potassium and other vitamins required for a healthy diet.

When time is crunched, buying meals from the school lunch program is a nutritionally-balanced and affordable alternative to packing a lunch. School meals are required to be the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and offer students the right balance of fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk, whole grains and lean protein with every meal. Check out your child's school cafeteria as many schools have invested in improving and enhancing their school foodservice options with salad bars, smoothies and other appealing options.  

Packing for a Picky Eater

It’s one thing to pack healthy food, but another to get kids to eat what you pack. Try showcasing foods bento-box style or in silicone muffin cups to make them fun to eat.  Another strategy is to explore some kid-friendly recipes and ask your kids to pick the winning dishes. Get your kids’ input during grocery shopping and packing, too.

Read more: Making Packing School Lunches Family Time


Nicole Mize, Dairy Council of California undergraduate dietetic intern




Tags: back to school Healthy eating healthy kids Nicole Mize
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating for Kids

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 HealthyEating.org 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.

Zucchini

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

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