With back to school in full swing, advanced planning is essential to make regular family meals a reality. From healthier eating to better academic performance, the benefits of eating together as a family are so significant, it's worth the investment for the whole family. To help get the school year off to a healthy start with family meals, are recipes for a month's worth of recipes and ideas.
September Family Meals Preview
(All recipes and themes subject to change)
Featuring Sweetie Pie Quesadillas, Dunkin' Vegetables and Apricot Peach Smoothies; plus Touchdown Taco Salad, Honey Lime Fruit Toss, Chile con Queso and Apple Carrot Muffins.
Featuring Ranch Chicken, Skillet Cauliflower Gratin and "Grand" Mom's Baked Apple Slices; plus Cornmeal Drop Biscuits, Turnip Greens, Tuna Melts and Beef Brisket Slow Cooker.
You'll be sweet on Honey Lime Tilapia, Apple Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing and Honey Poached Pears; plus Orange-Honey Arborio Rice Pudding, Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches, Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Honey Baked Bananas.
Slurp down Cheddar-Ale Soup with Mixed Baby Greens With Creamy Dressing and Crostini; plus Fresh Tomato Soup Au Gratin, Open Faced Turkey Sandwiches, Spicy Cheeseburger Soup and Cheese and Fruit Kabobs.
Serve Carrot Salad with California Dried Plums, Baked Chicken and Ziti and Pineapple Berry Smoothies; plus Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Casserole, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad, Creamy Banana Walnut Oatmeal and Gingery Salmon with Cucumber and Radish Salad.
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.
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.
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
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:
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
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.
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.
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