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Healthy Habits at School

Well… it’s so hard to believe! But, August is here, which means that school will be starting soon for so many kids across the country. With school starting, everyone’s schedules get turned upside down, our routines get thrown out the window, and we have to go back to the drawing board to create a new schedule for the whole family. In this whole shuffle, it is often easy to forget about nutrition and good eating habits, especially at school. That is why it is super important to encourage healthy habits at home, that your children can take with them when they go to school.

The most important thing to remind children of is to monitor the amount of water they are consuming. When school starts, it is usually still very hot outside. Plus, many back-to-school activities are held outside. So, it is important that your kids remain hydrated.  Make it a game! Discuss with your kids how many bottles of water they should drink while at school. ( 24-32 oz. is a great goal) If you think it may be easier, you can also just remind them to stop by the water fountain during every break and take a big drink. They may not know exactly how much they are drinking. But, it gives them a good goal to reach for. Have them keep track throughout the day and report back to you when they get home. Of course it is on their honor, but you could even have a reward established for reaching, and exceeding the goal.

Another important aspect of good nutrition when returning to school is the foods that your children consume during lunch. Unfortunately, many school lunch programs offer a lot of foods that your child does not need to be consuming. This food packs in the calories and oftentimes provides no nutritional value, leaving your child’s body needing more. When their bodies aren’t getting the fuel they need, they will not learn as well and will struggle to pay attention in class. This is why it is so important that your children eat foods from each food group to remain fueled and focused.

The bottom line is that you have been monitoring your children’s nutritional habits all summer; many times without even having to give it much thought. So, now that they are back at school, it is easy to just assume their nutritional needs are taken care of. However, that isn’t always the case. Parents need to be involved in teaching children how to make positive, healthy choices.  Need some help? NCES has developed two great new handouts geared towards helping Tots (ages 2-6) and Kids (ages 6-12) make healthy choices, all based on the USDA’s new MyPlate.  If you have any questions about them, be sure to contact us through Facebook, Twitter, email or phone.

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Have you had Your Peaches Today?

That’s right… we said peaches! August is National Peach Month. We couldn’t let this time go by without highlighting some of the benefits of eating peaches. Not to mention, we all LOVE peach cobbler but often avoid it because of all the added sugar and fat. So, we’ll give you a recipe for ‘Light, Fresh Peach Cobbler’ (via www.food.com)

Do you often feel fatigued, stressed, anxious or weak?  Well… of course you do! You’re alive. The demands of everyday life often cause these symptoms. But, many times these feelings come from a lack of nutrients that your body needs; one of these being potassium. Peaches contain healthy levels of potassium and can replenish lacking levels in your body. Because of this, the ancient Chinese often referred to this fruit as the ‘longevity peach’. (www.healthyfood-guide.com)

Another great component of a peach is the amount of fiber it contains. Fiber is great for our digestive tracks and helps our body’s process food correctly. A healthy amount of fiber in your diet contributes to keeping your body regular and serves as a ‘cleanup crew’ for your colon.

So, next time you are roaming through the grocery store aisles trying to come up with the perfect snack for your family, pick up some peaches! Not only do they taste great. But, they will also provide your body with many vitamins and minerals that you need to remain healthy!

Light, Fresh Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

  • 6 medium peaches, sliced
  • 6 1/3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine peaches, 1/3 cup of the sugar (5 1/3 tablespoons), cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon; toss to coat peaches.
  3. Set pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Cook until mixture thickens, about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to an 8-inch square baking pan.
  6. To make the topping, in a large bowl, combine flour, remaining tablespoon of sugar, baking powder and salt.
  7. Work in margarine with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  8. Add milk and stir until flour mixture is evenly moistened.
  9. Drop 8 tablespoons of topping mixture onto peach mixture.
  10. Bake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cut into 8 pieces and serve.