Tag Archives: back to school

Little Kid Bodies Must Play if You Want the Test Scores You’re After

kids playing

It’s a fact some schools have been cutting physical education classes and other activities like recess and team sports in order to save money and allow more classroom time. However, removing physical activity from school kids’ days may actually have a detrimental effect on their scholastic abilities.

Carolyn Wassell, M.Ed. is the principal of the West Charleston Enrichment Academy (WCEA) where staying active is seen as an integral part of the school day. The long-time teacher and administrator feels physical activity has an incredibly positive impact on her students’ academic performance.

“Children have many academic periods at school where they must be cognitively focused,” she told DietsInReview. “Physical activity provides a break from concentrated instruction. Instead of going from one mental task to another, physical activity serves to relieve stress and actually lessen distractions. This allows students to return to academic tasks with increased focus and with the ability to do better on their assignments.”

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Your Grades are What You Eat! 10 Smart Back to School Foods to Boost Kids’ Grades

As the school year kicks off, it’s safe to say that good grades are at the top of many people’s school wishlists. While you can’t deny that paying attention in class and doing the assigned work makes up a major part of the grade, there are other, usually overlooked, ways to earn fridge-worthy grade cards.

We spoke with with our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, and nutritionist and author Dr. Keith Kantor about which healthy habits may boost grades and improve performance in school.

judah rainbow smoothie

Nutrition

Eat Healthy Foods

Mary shared that getting the right nutrients can boost the speed at which the brain works. “So many nutrients have a role in cognition, including cholesterol from egg yolks and dairy products, essential fatty acids from fatty fish, nuts and olive oil, and carotenoids and flavonoids found in colorful fruits and vegetables.”

Back to School Food: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Donut Sandwiches

Get Your Vitamins and Minerals

“A host of micronutrients also play key roles in processes that run the brain, including iron, zinc, choline, selenium, iodine, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins A and C,” Mary added.

Back to School Food: Rainbow Smoothie

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Back to School Clean Eating Cookies Made Just About Any Way You Like!

allergy cookies

It’s that time of year again for brown bag lunches and busy fall schedules. To keep the kids healthy AND keep their sweet tooth happy, try these super simple, super clean cookies. What we love about these cookies is that they are very forgiving and flexible in terms of the goodies you add in at the end.

Consider adding almond butter, cocoa powder, protein powder, chopped almonds, canned pumpkin, extra cinnamon…the sky’s the limit!

healthy cookie ingredients

The mashed bananas as the base is a great way to keep the cookies moist while providing a stable base packed with nutrition and energy. Adding oats provides essential fiber to keep little bellies full. (more…)

Add Simple Yoga to Your Back to School Routine for Happier, Focused Kids

kid yoga

Don’t you know the feeling you have when you get to do a little yoga or meditation before you start the work day? Why not carry that same euphoric feeling over to the kids? Shouldn’t they be able to enjoy starting the day with a nice, calm, relaxed energy?

Introduce some quick yoga, or mild stretching, as part of your kids’ morning routine! There are yoga options for kids of all ages to try before they head to school each morning, and the results will be positive from their mood to their energy, and even focus and grades!

Elementary age kids are the most energetic, if you can get them up and out of bed that is! Wake them up to a few rounds of cat/cow, then have them hold downward dog for a few seconds. Repeat this cycle 2-3 times. This is sure to wake them up! Have them make the corresponding animal sounds for each move. It helps with breath control, engages the mind, and it’s just plain fun! (more…)

Cupcake Ban in Schools Inspires Healthier Classroom Party Treat Ideas

birthday party

“Mom, what are we bringing to school tomorrow for my birthday?”

If you’re like most busy parents, your child’s innocent question may send you into panic-stricken stammering. 
“Um…well…it’s a surprise. A surprise! Yes, that’s it. You just wait until tomorrow and you’ll see.”

No, you didn’t forget your child’s birthday, it’s just that darn societal expectation that you’ll bring enough goodies to feed every kid in your child’s class. So, what’s it going to be? Stay up late and scour Pinterest for something, anything, that you can throw together, or sneak out to the store and eliminate some of the hassle?

For parents at some schools in Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota, sugary sweets are no longer an option. This so-called “cupcake ban,” as reported by Shape Magazine, means that schools are requiring non-edible treats like pencils, stickers, and other trinkets be given.

Is this a good idea? Perhaps, if parents just aren’t complying with school recommendations to bring healthier treats. But in general, we as parents shouldn’t wait to be policed by the schools. Let’s take it upon ourselves to share healthier treats in classroom celebrations.

Here are a few homemade options that are wholesome and kid-approved! (more…)

What to Feed the Reluctant Breakfast Eater and 9 Quick Options to Mix and Match

back to school breakfast

The school year is fast-approaching for my little family, and may already be in session for yours. With this change of seasons comes the hustle of the morning routine.

Ugh.

Two different kids off to two different schools and a teenager who hates eating breakfast, unless its served after 11:00 a.m.

I know I can’t send him out the door with an empty belly or a Pop-Tart clutched in his fist, so I did a little research and I think I found a few tweaks we can make to our schedule, and compromise foods that will make us both happy.

Come on, Mom, just 5 more minutes.

As children get older their sleep patterns change. Teens fall asleep later so the snooze button (slash mom’s forgiveness) gets pushed to maximum capacity until finally there is no time for breakfast. To combat this, I’m instituting a decent school night bedtime and declaring that NO electronics will be allowed in his room past that time.

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WIN the Ultimate Stuff Your Lunch Box Giveaway Just in Time for Back to School!

Back To School Giveaway

School is back in session and parents, you know what that means. It’s time to drag out the superhero and princess lunch boxes and pose the question you’ll be asking hundreds of times this year, “What do you want for lunch?” At DietsInReview, we want to help you branch out beyond PB&J and fill those boxes with healthy delicious food your kids will be bragging about in the cafeteria.

PRIZES:

One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive 30 days each of:

  • Sneaky Pete’s all-natural oat beverages
  • Wholly Guacamole, featuring the new Wholly Guacamole minis
  • Angie’s Boomchickapop, 35-calories/per cup and non-GMO
  • Mini Babybel Mozzarella, 100% natural with 20% of daily calcium needs
  • GoPicnic, the leader in ready-to-eat, prepackaged, nutritious and flavorful on-the-go meals with GF options
  • Beanitos, corn-free bean chips that are gluten-free, non-GMO and low-glycemic.

One SECOND PLACE WINNER will receive:

  • One Case of Angie’s Boomchickapop
  • One Cooler of Whole Guacamole products
  • 30 days of of Mini Babybel Mozzarella

WINNER SELECTED AUGUST 30 – NICOLE H. GIVEAWAY IS OVER.

   TWEET THIS POST TO ENTER TO WIN!  

FACEBOOK SHARE THIS POST TO ENTER TO WIN (more…)

35 Quick and Healthy School Night Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Eat

What’s for dinner is the most impossible question to answer on our best nights, but during the chaos and rush of back to school it feels nearly hopeless. Adjusting to new schedules and adding extracurriculars to an already crammed-tight calendar and you’ve got a recipe for another drive-through dinner.

This year, don’t sweat it. Put prioritizing dinner on your back to school list. Any of these dinners can be thrown together and in the mouths of your hungry family in 30 minutes or less. They’re also healthier meals you can feel good about serving. And in many cases you can eat them on the run.

We may not change how you see dinner as a necessary evil, but we can certainly take the devil out of the details!

Mexican and Southwest

quesadilla black beans

Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadillas

For meatless Monday or exclusive vegetarians, hearty black beans and mushrooms melted together with cheese is simple and satisfying.

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw

Fire up the grill and you’re only 30 minutes away from the best tacos ever! Buy pre-shredded coleslaw to really save prep time.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Barr and Table

These peppers use protein-rich quinoa instead of rice and can be prepped and served in just 30 minutes with on-hand ingredients.

Chorizo Nachos

Biggest Loser has a homemade chorizo recipe that tastes and looks like the real deal but is much better for you (just make it in advance).

Apple Sausage Quesadillas

The kids can practically make these themselves and will love every last comforting bite.

Classic Comforts

meatloaf mug

Meatloaf in a Mug – My Recipes

Individual meatloaves are made in minutes in the microwave. Not only are they adorable, but they practically make themselves.

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders

This drive-thru favorite is better than ever when you use panko to get that crispy crunch the kids crave.

BBQ Pork Sliders

It takes only 30 minutes to roast a tenderloin, which you can then shred, toss in your favorite BBQ sauce, and serve!

Turkey Meatball Subs

The sandwich shop has nothing on our effortless meatball subs, made lighter with ground turkey. Serve in hot dog buns for tiny hands.

Pumpkin Chili

Chili in 30 minutes is possible. The pumpkin adds delicious nutrition without influencing the flavor much at all.

Sandwiches

finished pita

Mediterranean Chicken, Pear, and Arugula Stuffed Pitas – Fit Bottomed Eats

Our original recipe for FBE starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in hand-held, get-out-the-door meals.

Best Club Sandwich Ever

We use Applegate Farms ham, turkey, and bacon to craft a cleaner sandwich that’s finished with avocados and veggies.

Oprah’s Love Sandwich

This grilled panini sandwich presses turkey and cheese together for a super-quick, hot and ready dinner.

Almond Butter Banana Crazy

It doesn’t get any easier – we fold almond butter with banana slices and sprinkle a few dried cranberries.

Super Sloppy Joes – Meal Makeover Moms

This family favorite is made lighter with ground turkey and always gets two messy thumbs up from the kids.

 

Meals On a Stick

chicken stick

Maple Ginger Chicken on a Stick – Green Lite Bites

Make the marinade in the morning and dinner is literally minutes away when you get home. Roni says kids will eat anything on a stick!

Bayou Kabobs

Shrimp, sausages, and peppers take less than 15 minutes on the grill.

Fancy Fish Sticks

A Jillian Michaels creation that is super family friendly and way better than any frozen fish stick in a box.

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Bite Kabobs

Hand-held burgers without the bun are stuffed with gooey cheddar cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper for big flavor.

Stuffed Almond Butter and Jam French Toast Kabobs – Nibbles by Nic

It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way! You could even add bites of ham to the kabobs if you’re looking for more protein.

 

Pasta and Noodles

butternut squash macaroni

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

An Abra Pappa original that uses less, but higher quality cheese and a butternut squash puree for a kid-approved mac!

Creamy Avocado Pasta – In Good Taste

One of our very favorite 15-minute dinners. Prepare it meatless or top with shrimp.

Tomato Basil Alphabet Soup

A super simple homemade soup that easily fills thermoses for feel-good brown bag lunches all week long!

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

It’s a no-noodle pasta dish and they’ll never know the difference! More nutritious and just as fast as a heap of spaghetti.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – Picky Eater Blog

Turn a package of store-bought ravioli in to a quick and easy feel good dinner the kids will rave about!

Breakfast for Dinner

waffle panini

Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis – HelloGiggles

If you’ve made the waffles in advance, or have frozen available, the prep time on these is dramatically reduced!

Pigs in Comforters

Biggest Loser’s Chef Devin Alexanders rolls all-beef hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits.

Cornbread Waffles – Edible Perspective

Prepare these heartier waffles with our oven-baked chicken tenders for a better take on chicken and waffles!

Egg and Kielbasa Sausage Pizza – Kid Friendly Home

The eggs form a breadless crust that holds kielbasa sausage, fresh herbs, and both cheddar and parmesan cheeses.

Carrot Cake Pancakes – Grimmway Farms

We crafted these using Grimmway’s famous baby carrots. Topped with cream cheese and walnuts, they’re quite satisfying.

 

Mediterr-Asian

Hoppin Johns Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Our “new year” hummus will bring good luck to your pupils. Serve with warm pita and fresh veggies for an easy, filling dinner.

Crispy Pork Wontons

Another winner of a dinner from Chef Devin, these wontons bake up in minutes and are easily eaten on the go.

Mediterranean Fish Tacos – Food Network

A Rachael Ray original that takes only 30 minutes to prep and serve and offers a lighter, cooler meal for those hot and busy nights.

Chinese Potstickers with Turkey – Super Healthy Kids

If you’ve got about 20 minutes, a food processor, and a pot of boiling water, you’ve got time to make a super lean take-out-inspired meal!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is all grown up! We make it better with real mozzarella, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.

meal planner

Keep it all organized! Download our FREE meal planner worksheets HERE!

The Ultimate Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Stuffed Doughnut for Awesome Mornings

Doughnuts have been stuffed with chocolate, jelly, and cream for as long as doughnuts have been baked. They’ve even been used as buns to hold burgers with bacon and fried eggs. None of those are really great for you. In fact, we named that 1500-calorie Krispy Kreme doughnut burger by Paula Deen one of the worst things she ever did to food.

bacon egg cheese stuffed doughnut

But we liked her innovative culinary spirit. We liked where her head was, and we also just like doughnuts like everyone else. We kept the eggs, bacon, and ditched the glaze and beef. What we whipped up, and can’t wait for you to try, is the ultimate in breakfast sandwiches – bacon, eggs, and cheese all stuffed inside our lighter cake doughnut.

It’s the Ultimate Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Stuffed Doughnut.

It’s awesome.

It’s savory. It’s salty. It’s a little sweet.

It’s also LESS than 200 calories. One whole doughnut weighs in at 194 calories.

It’s. Amazing.

cheese doughnut

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35 Kid-Friendly Snacks that Meet the New Smart Snacks in Schools Guidelines

Students are going back to a healthier school environment this year, as schools continue to advance Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Last year, USDA added more fruit, vegetables and whole grains to the school lunch program. This year, those healthy advancements extend to school vending machines and school stores. Expect to see more of the foods we should encourage – whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein – and less of the foods we should avoid – sugary, salty and fatty items. Read the guidelines in Smart Snacks in School, the USDA’s guide to the new nutrition standards.

healthy snacks usda guidelines

Download this Printer Friendly Version for your home or classroom.

We took those guidelines one step further by translating them into brand name foods to help busy parents and even teachers know what to look for at the store. Our list contains ­only foods that meet the new standards. There are no cookies or soda (too much sugar), nor meat jerky (too much salt), and several snack bars didn’t make the cut because they exceed the 200-calorie limit. While our list doesn’t include every acceptable packaged food on the market – and let’s make it clear, we love snacks made at home from healthy, fresh ingredients – we hope our list will help school administrators, teachers and parents to identify better-for-you commercial snacks that are more apt to promote our kids’ healthy lifestyles. (more…)