Back to School Snacking: Fighting After-School Hunger

 

It’s that time of year again! Children and families everywhere are preparing to head back to school. Children will be on the move and learning new things each and everyday. After a long day of fun-filled learning, children are more than likely to come home famished. After school snacking is a daily ritual in most homes and this can be a great opportunity to get extra nutrients in your children.

It is also important that we, as parents be a good model to our children when it comes to snacking. If children see how much you enjoy healthy eating and snacks, they are more likely to enjoy these foods as well. Allowing children to help prepare the snacks or other healthy meals will keep them more interested in healthy snacking and eating. With the right foods in the fridge and pantry, children who come straight home after school can start fixing their snacks (with parent approval). Try loading up the refrigerator with easy grab-and-go foods like veggie sticks and low-fat dips, yogurt, and berries.

One recipe for healthy snacking is called Lean Mean Deli Roll-Ups. This is a very quick, easy, and healthy recipe that children can make on their own (with parent approval) or with your help.

Lean Mean Deli Roll-Ups

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  1. 1 stick low-fat string cheese
  2. 1 slice lean ham or turkey deli meat
  3. 1 teaspoon honey mustard

Directions

    1. Wash hands and surfaces
    2. Wrap the meat slice around the string cheese stick and dip the roll up in mustard
    3. Refrigerate Immediately

Shae King

Shae is an EFNEP Educator in Forsyth County, NC A&T State University

 

Build an Easy Breakfast

Mornings can be a hectic time to get everyone fed and off to the places we have to be often early in the morning. Breakfast may not always be a top priority. However, breakfast is a very important part of the day for you and everyone in your family. For some ideas, Super Healthy Kids has a list of recipes to help make your mornings a little easier: http://www.superhealthykids.com/10-healthy-breakfasts-help-kids-well-school/

Here are some of the highlights:

However you choose to make breakfast a part of your family’s day, be sure keep it simple!

Emily

The cheapest way to improve your health, drink water!

 

Lucky for us, in America water is free just about anywhere you go. Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages will not only help your wallet but could help to improve your health.

Although there are currently no set requirements for water consumption, the Food and Nutrition Board recommends that the average women consume 91 ounces daily (about 11 cups) and men consume 125 ounces daily (about 15 cups). (Certain groups may require higher intake levels, check with your doctor for more information).

This may seem unattainable to some but don’t worry, typically 20% of this amount is consumed within the foods you eat. With this in mind, women should aim to drink 8 cups of water-based beverages daily and men, 12 cups. This may still seem like a daunting task for some, below are some tips to include healthy drinks into your daily routine.

  1. Reusable water bottles can be a good way to encourage water consumption.
    Tip: Look for a 16-ounce water bottle and every refill counts as 2 cups!
  2. Infuse your water with your favorite fruits and herbs. See the recipe below to get you started.
    Tip: Freeze fruits when they are in season, and usually a great deal. Once you need them they can serve to flavor your water and help keep it cold!
  3. Soda-lover? Try switching to seltzer water or club soda. Look in your grocery store for calorie-free, carbonated drinks, available in a variety of flavors.
    Tip: Most restaurants have club soda available on draft, just ask!
  4. Attention caffeine-lovers: coffee and tea count towards your daily intake as well! Take it easy on the cream and sugar and these drinks can be a healthy way to reach your recommendations.
    Tip: As a Northern originally, I am allowed to say that tea does not always have to be sweet…sorry! Try different flavors and make it hot or iced. My new favorite is honey vanilla chamomile!

Try this: Strawberry Mint Water: -1/2 Cup frozen strawberries -1/4 Cup fresh mint -8 ounces water -Combine all ingredients in a cup or water bottle.

Enjoy!!

Megan
Megan is the Adult EFNEP Program Assistant in Orange County Cooperative Extension.

Source: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-make-better-beverage-choices

Indoor activities for your family on bad weather days

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Just a couple of weeks ago, many folks were watching to see if the groundhog saw his shadow. According to the tradition, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t, an early spring can be expected. Whether you are a follower of this tradition or not, I believe that we will see more cold days. As such, parents will continue to keep the little ones inside when the forecast calls for rain, snow or downright chilly temperatures.

Don’t let your family’s activities be hampered by the weather. There are many indoor activities that are weatherproof alternatives guaranteed to keep you and your children occupied until the sun starts shining again. Here are a few inexpensive examples of great indoor activities that you and your family can enjoy.

Museums are a great indoor playground for curious young minds with lots of hands on offerings for children. If your family is interested in history, science, the arts or culture, the museum may be for you.

Theaters and tours are other great options. Escape indoors and get lost in your local theater for an hour or two. There are many options around town that cater to the young and the young at heart. The only challenge is to decide what to see! Look for special seasonal promotions such as 2-for-1 ticket deals, free admission for kids of a certain age and same day discount deals. Take a tour of your city’s local attractions. You may see something that you didn’t see before.

Concerts and comedy shows are also good choices. From kid-centric musical performances to a comedic troupe that caters to the younger set, there are family-friendly options in most towns and cities. If you live in an area where your options are limited, have your own concert or comedy show at home. Dance, sing and laugh any inclement weather away.

Libraries and bookstores are wonderful opportunities for indoor activities. Instead of curling up at home with a good book, add a little excitement to your family’s reading repertoire at bookstores and libraries. Find storytelling sessions and other events such as performances, screenings and workshops at these popular book retreats for young visitors.

The bowling alley is another indoor activity that will spare you and your family from the inclement weather blues. Most bowling alleys are open during the day, evenings and on the weekends. On Friday nights, families can pay a discounted rate for bowling, shoes, and a complimentary snack/drink. Younger bowlers also get assistance from ramps and bumpers.

Play spaces make great indoor options where kids can burn off excess energy. At many of these places, there are opportunities to play sports and to explore imaginative environments.

A little inclement weather is no excuse for an empty agenda. Get up and get moving… even if it’s indoors. What other ideas and suggestions do you have for family friendly indoor activities?

Stephanie

Tips to Move More After School

When I came home from school as a kid, I couldn’t wait to watch television before diving into that night’s homework. For me, sitting down, putting my feet up, and watching my favorite show was my favorite way to wind down from a long day at school. But that got boring after I was about an hour in. Encouraging your kids to Move More after school can help them establish exercise habits that stay with them as they grow up. An immediate benefit to them is just having something else to do when they get home from school! Here are some activities to help your kids enjoy their weeknight evenings:

  • Take a Family Walk: This is a great way to get the whole family moving while also catching up on each other’s days. Does everyone get home at different times in the afternoon? Schedule the walk for after dinner! I always love a quiet evening walk. Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.03.12 AM
  • Simon Says-Exercise Edition: For a more active twist on a classic children’s game, try commands such as “Simon Says do a push-up” or “Simon says do five sit-ups.”
  • Sports: If possible, get your kids involved in a school or community sport they enjoy. Some sports and games can be played as a family at home in the yard, such as soccer and freeze tag.
  • Use Technology to Move More: Is the weather outside bad? Try finding exercise videos online or on television that children can understand and participate in. Also, there are many game systems now that have games to help you be more active-try one if it’s available to you! I still enjoy playing those games!

For more ideas, check out this website: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/get-active/getting-active.htm . I hope you enjoy this time with your children!

Cara

Cara is an EFNEP student intern.

Fuel Your Way Back To School

The food we eat helps supply our brains with the energy they need to function well. During the school year, children spend roughly 35 hours per week in school where they are focusing, learning, communicating, and thinking. All of these tasks require children’s minds to be alert, and a balanced diet to supply them with quality energy helps them do so. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the snacks in between, you can discuss with your kids how to fuel their bodies with healthy food at home and at school.

Here are some tips to get them off to a good start this school year:

  1. Your kids can get their day off to an energizing start by eating breakfast. Whether
    they eat at home or at school, encourage them to choose whole-grains (such as oats and whole-wheat bread) and fruit for fiber, and nonfat/low-fat dairy for protein. These nutrients can help keep them full until their snack or lunchtime. Check out this link to find ideas for breakfast foods your kids will love: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/life_stages/hgic4106.html
  2. School lunches have made big steps towards providing children with healthier options since I was in school. Look at the cafeteria menu and talk to your kids about the healthier options on the menu. On those days that there are not as many choices of fruits, vegetables, and other foods low in fat, sodium, and sugar, help your children decide what they would like to bring from home for lunch.
  3. Consider this: a lunch packed from home isn’t automatically healthy, because it could still include the same types of food in the cafeteria you’re trying to avoid, such as pizza, French fries, and sugary beverages. How can you ensure that the food you pack your kids is going to fuel them well? Aim for whole, minimally processed foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and nonfat/low-fat dairy. Also, choose water to drink to keep them hydrated and focused!
  4. Do your children have snack breaks at school? Vending machines are still readily available for children in many schools. Talk to your kids about why vending machines foods aren’t the best choices, and brainstorm ideas of healthier alternatives that they can bring from home, such as whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese.
  5. Cold foods should be kept cold to avoid getting sick from eating the food. If a refrigerator is not available, choose a lunch box with insulation, and pack it with ice packs that will keep it at a safe temperature until they’re ready to enjoy the food.
  6. Sweets and salty snacks don’t have to be avoided altogether. I love a bowl of ice cream after a long day or a bag of chips with my lunch once in awhile. Explain to your kids that a healthy diet can include these foods, just in small servings. A healthy diet is a balanced diet!
  7. Including your children in these decisions is very important. If they don’t like the foods you send them to school with, who’s to say they’ll actually eat it? Set a good example for them at home and expose them to many different healthy foods to encourage them to eat well.

For more tips, go to http://www.nutrition411.com/content/back-school-nutrition-tips-0

Eating a healthy diet won’t guarantee good grades and behavior in school, but it can promote them!

Wishing you all a nutritious and balanced start to the school year,

Cara

Cara is an EFNEP student intern.