web analytics

Archive | Back to School

Fun, healthy lunchbox ideas

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) The daily routine of packing foods for lunchtime may seem boring, but the food inside those lunchboxes doesn’t have to be. Consider your students’ personality when planning school lunches.

Whether the cafeteria-bound container features Hello Kitty or Justin Bieber, the foods inside should be customized to fit age, activity level and personal style. So how do you get beyond the usual carrots and celery sticks? Noted nutrition expert, award winning food journalist and television personality, Carolyn O’Neil, MS RD LD, advises parents to think about the personality of each child when assembling lunch.

BACK-Lunchbox-ideas2-myplateFix finger foods for young eaters

Overwhelmed little students may do best with tiny bites of finger foods. So, if you have a shy first grader, send them with string cheese sticks, whole grain crackers, baby carrots and cut-up fruit.

Cucumber wheels, red or orange bell pepper strips, and sugar snap peas are also colorful and nutritious finger foods. Add low-fat ranch dressing or individual packs of fiber- and protein-rich hummus for dipping. The oil in these dips actually helps kids absorb more of the veggie’s fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A.

Up the nutrition for those not focused on lunch

What about the teens and tweens focused on anything but the lunch at lunchtime? Older kids focused on friends might prefer a sandwich and a bunch of grapes.

“That table of girls checking out the new guy don’t want to be seen wolfing down large portions,” O’Neil said. “A dainty sandwich cut into quarters or half of a whole-wheat pita sandwich might be a better fit. Choose lean proteins such as sliced turkey, roast beef or deli ham to maximize nutrition and minimize calories. For something sweet, they may prefer to dip grapes, strawberries or pineapple chunks in protein-packed Greek yogurt.”

Pack plenty of food for hungry athletes

Hungry athletes need larger servings of healthy foods for lunch, such as an extra slice of turkey on a sandwich and whole grain tortilla chips with an individual pack of salsa. These energy-burning kids may also need two cartons of cold milk for hydration and nutrition.

For after school, pack a snack to keep your sports star energized. They can refuel before sports practice with fresh fruit or the extra protein in a granola bar with peanuts or other nuts.

No matter what’s on the menu for your students, follow the USDA MyPlate nutrition icon. This visual for good nutrition indicates half of a healthy plate be filled with fruit and vegetables, with the two other quarters occupied by a lean protein and a whole grain starch. To complete the meal, add a cup of fat free or low fat milk. Look for food safety tips and after school snack ideas at www.BestFoodFacts.org.

 

Posted in Back to School, FeaturedComments Off

Building a relationship with your child’s teacher matters

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Media Bakery

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Media Bakery

(StatePoint) Children are mom and dad’s top priority, and parents want to give them every advantage in the world to succeed. But with all the time kids spend at school, parents cannot do it alone. That’s why it’s important for the most influential adults in a child’s life to team up on a common goal.

Parents should cultivate relationships with their child’s teacher early, so they can work together toward the child’s success.

There are several ways for parents to build a relationship with their kid’s teacher.

Introduce yourself

Don’t wait until there is a problem before meeting the teacher. Introduce yourself as soon as possible—ideally before the stresses of the school year are in full swing. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation—just one to let the teacher know who you are and that you are interested in your child’s education.

Show appreciation

All kids and their parents have a teacher they admire and want to thank. Taking a few minutes to share these sentiments is important and can be easy. For example, Cheerios has a new “Send Cheer to Teachers” program that makes it simple to thank favorite teachers. Parents can show gratitude, support and appreciation by simply cutting a special postcard for teachers from specially-marked boxes of Cheerios cereal, writing a personal message, and sharing a short note of thanks. A few kind words can go a long way.

Spend time

In today’s economy, many schools are stretched thin for resources. School systems are increasing class sizes and slashing budgets. Parents who have time can offer to help out. Whether it is chaperoning school trips, preparing items for a fundraiser or just donating old books to the classroom, this kindness will go a long way toward solidifying the parent-teacher relationship.

Help with supplies

Teachers spend on average $398 of their own money on supplies and resources, and 92 percent of teachers use their own money to provide supplies for their students, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.

Through a General Mills program called Box Tops for Education, parents can earn cash for their kid’s school by clipping Box Tops coupons from participating products. In addition, from August to October, you can enter the unique code from inside specially marked Cheer-card Cheerios boxes online to earn one bonus eBoxTops credit for your school.

And through a new Cheerios Send Cheer to Teachers sweepstakes, parents can enter for a chance to win a $20,000 prize package or one of four $5,000 prize packages made up of bonus Box Tops and supplies for their child’s school. Complete details and rules can be found at www.btfe.com/sendcheer.

Getting to know their teachers is the best way to take an interest in children’s education. Even when they aren’t around, parents can make a difference in the classroom.

Posted in Back to SchoolComments Off

Fire up your tailgate with tips from a pro

BACK-Tailgating-ideas(Family Features) Grilled food is good anywhere for any occasion. Whether you’re tailgating in the stadium parking lot or watching the game in your own backyard with family and friends, get ready to take your grill skills to the gridiron. While you might not be in the running for MVP this season, everyone has a shot at being Tailgater of the Year.

Try these tips from world champion pitmaster Chris Lilly to tailgate like a pro this season:

Score an Early First Down: Marinate meat before guests arrive. Try KC Masterpiece marinades, such as Santa Fe Picante, which gives a real kick to meat, seafood and vegetables. It can add flavor to meat in as little as 30 minutes. Also, to be confident your grill will be ready to cook in about 10 minutes, try KingsfordMatch Light charcoal.

Avoid Turnovers: Frequent flipping of items on the grill can dry out the food. Instead, let food brown before turning to develop a flavorful crust, which is the signature of great grilling. When it’s time to flip, use tongs or a spatula in place of forks, which pierce food and release juices.

Don’t call in the second string: One of the best parts about tailgating at home is that you own the “concession stand.” You wouldn’t call the deliveryman from the stadium, so make sure you follow the same rule when watching the game at home. Fire up your grill to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the stadium right in your own backyard with Lilly’s Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Alabama White Sauce.

Need to step up your game with new tailgating recipes? Check out www.Grilling.com for tips, tricks and recipes to take your game day grilling to the next level.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Alabama White Sauce

Makes: 1 16-inch pizza

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 21 minutes

Alabama White Sauce

2 tablespoons onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

4 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, ground

1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1/2 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

16 ounces pizza dough

1/2 cup grilled chicken, diced

1/2 cup hot and spicy sausage, cut in 1/4 inch slices

1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat grill to 500 degrees Fahrenheit using Kingsford charcoal.

Sauté onions and garlic in butter over medium heat for approximately 1 minute, or until onions turn slightly translucent. Remove from heat and add vinegar and sugar. Stir mixture until sugar dissolves and pour it into small mixing bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Add remaining white sauce ingredients and blend together.

Roll pizza dough to 16-inch diameter circle on lightly greased pizza stone and spread pizza sauce over dough evenly. Top pizza with diced grilled chicken and slices of sausage. Spread mozzarella cheese evenly over pizza.

Place pizza stone on grill and close lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is brown and crisp. Remove pizza from grill, cut and serve.

Posted in Back to School, RecipesComments Off

A+ Lunches

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

How much sodium is in your child’s lunchbox?

 

(Family Features) They need to be able to eat it in 20 minutes or less. They need to be able to open and close all of the containers themselves. And it can’t go bad before they eat it. What are we talking about? The lunch your kids take to school each day.

What you put in your child’s lunchbox might matter more than you realize. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a significant amount of sodium in the foods toddlers commonly eat. It’s feared that similar levels of sodium are also found in a number of the foods older kids eat at school every day. As concerns rise about the early onset of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, parents may want to re-examine those lunchbox choices.

Why does sodium matter? A 2012 study of children and adolescents found that higher sodium consumption was associated with increased blood pressure. This effect was even greater in overweight and obese participants compared to normal weight participants.

In addition, research suggests that children’s taste for salt develops as they are exposed to it. The less sodium children consume, the less they want it. Children’s taste for salt may be reduced if they are exposed to lower sodium diets at a young age. Eating less sodium can help lower blood pressure during childhood, which can help lower the risk of high blood pressure as an adult.

 

What’s a parent to do?

Here are some tips to help tackle high sodium in your child’s lunchbox:

Read food labels and compare the sodium amount in different products, then choose the options with the lowest amounts of sodium. Some varieties of bread can vary from 80 to 230 mg of sodium per slice. That can make a big difference in lunchtime sandwiches.

Pack fresh fruits and vegetables with lunch every day, like a small bag of baby carrots, snow peas, or grape tomatoes.

For a healthy snack, make trail mix using unsalted nuts, dried fruits and whole grain cereal.

When buying prepared meals, look for those with less than 600mg of sodium per serving.

By packing a lower sodium school lunch for your children, you are not only setting them up for success in the classroom, but also in life. With your help, your children can develop healthy, low sodium eating habits that will last throughout their lives and help improve their heart health. For additional information about children and sodium and more tips for parents to help lower their family’s sodium intake, visit www.cdc.gov/salt.

BACK-sodium

 

Where’s the sodium?

Understanding sodium in foods can be confusing, especially when food that otherwise seems healthy may have high levels of sodium. Most of the sodium we eat doesn’t come from the salt shaker, but is found in processed and restaurant foods. This chart shows the Top 10 Sodium Sources for children and adolescents. How many of these have made an appearance in your child’s lunchbox?

 

 

BACK-snack-mixMake-Your-Own Snack Mix

Get your kids involved in making this healthy snack mix.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

Serving size: 1/2 cup snack mix

1 cup toasted oat cereal

1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts (or other unsalted nut)

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Combine all ingredients, and toss well.

Serve immediately, or store for later snacking.

Tip: Put snack mix in individual snack-sized bags for a great grab-and-go snack.

 

Recipe and photo from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health

 

 

Posted in Back to School, Featured, RecipesComments Off

Five germ-fighting tips to keep kids healthy this school year

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

(StatePoint) School is a great place to learn, play and make friends. Unfortunately it’s also a great place for germs to get very well acquainted….with your family! With 20 to 30 kids in a classroom and even more on the playground, it’s hard to avoid the germs that cause such illnesses as colds, flus and more.

Three-time Gold Medalist, wife and busy mom of two, Christie Rampone knows the importance of good health. As captain of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, she travels over two hundred days a year, often with her young children in tow. So stress, fatigue and staying healthy are daily battles. Since days off are not an option for Rampone, she is offering five “stay healthy” tips that parents can follow all school year long:

• Eat healthy: It’s no secret, a balanced diet is key for a healthy immune system. By focusing on a variety of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks, your family will get the nutrition it needs to fight off germs during the school year.

“Some of my favorite healthy snacks are carrots, celery and apples. They are easy to pack and extremely nutritious,” says Rampone. “The trick is to create variety, because kids tend to grow tired of the same things quickly.”

• Get plenty of exercise: Frequent, moderate exercise is important for good health and strong immunity.  On a daily basis, encourage kids to play sports, run, bike ride or dance, all to keep their bodies fit, hearts pumping strong and minds happy. Better yet, join in on the fun yourself!

• Sleep at least seven hours a night: Sleep is crucial to good health, both mentally and physically. A recent study showed that when you get less than seven hours sleep at night, you’re three times more likely to come down with a cold or flu.

• Take supplements as needed: Government recommendations call for five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But how many of us really get them?  To help fill the gaps, look for nutritional supplements supported by published clinical research. Rampone, who has battled Lyme disease, which wreaks havoc on the immune system, has been using such supplements for herself and her entire family.

• Don’t forget about you: As a parent, your first priority is usually the kids. But you need to make sure that you also take care of yourself too, especially during the chaotic school and work week. Make sure that you drink enough water and get a few minutes each day to relax and recharge your immune battery.

More tips to keep kids healthy this school year can be found at www.epicorimmune.com.

 

Posted in Back to School, Featured, HealthComments Off

Safety training for sports activities

OUT-Red-Cross-logoFrom the American Red Cross

Back to school also means back to practice for thousands of student athletes and coaches. The American Red Cross has training and resources available for people to learn how to treat a variety of emergencies and injuries that may occur throughout the sports season.

“School and neighborhood coaches, athletes and spectators should know how to help prevent and respond to common sports injuries such as strains and sprains, fractures, cuts and concussions,” said Kelly Hudson, Regional Communications Officer for the American Red Cross of West Michigan.

Safe Kids Worldwide reports that every 25 seconds a child is hurt playing sports and that more than 1 million emergency room visits are made due to sports injuries each year. Sports injuries account for about 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits for young people, according to their study.

Red Cross has developed a number of resources for everyone involved in sports and recreational activities:

First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches is an online program for teens and adults who coach at any age level. Developed with the National Federation of State High School Associations, this course covers first aid skills including breathing emergencies and injuries to muscles, bones and joints. Coaches are encouraged to take a CPR/AED course as well.

Family First Aid and CPR is an online course for those not required to have OSHA-compliant certification. Participants learn how to treat cardiac, breathing and first aid emergencies until help arrives. Pediatric modules are also available.

American Red Cross First Aid App is a free app for smart phones and tablets. It gives users instant access to information on how to handle the most common first aid situations.

Information on courses and additional resources are available at redcross.org. A variety of Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

“Heat can be especially hazardous to anyone exercising or playing outdoors this time of year. People should avoid scheduling workouts and exercise during the hottest times of the day,” added Hudson. “Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.”

For more information on how to give, get trained or get involved with the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Posted in Back to School, Outdoors, SportsComments Off


advert

LOCAL Advertisers

Bryne Electrical
The POST
Kent Theatre

Get the Cedar Springs Post in your mailbox for only $35.00 a year!