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Simple Ways to Keep it Healthy This School Year

Getting children ready for school can be a daunting task. There are new clothes to buy, new books to pick up, and a plethora of new after school events to add to the schedule.

Perhaps that is why finding time to prepare and provide nutritious meals and snacks can be such a challenge for many parents who want to give their children the best school experience they can. Unfortunately, not giving higher priority to what types of foods our kids eat can actually hurt their performance in school.

You don’t have to carve out hours of time or be an expert chef to ensure that your children eat healthy throughout the school year. In fact, incorporating just a few of the following healthy eating tips can get your family eating well without missing any of the important events that make school time a memorable experience.


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Fuel Up to Play 60 Back for Another Season

Fuel Up to Play 60 is back. (Yay!)

Most well known for the catchy, rhyming commercial showcasing NFL players, the fantastic program to help children learn to eat healthy has returned for the new school year. The commercials, starring NFL players such as Washington Redskins’ Chris Horton, hope to use their popularity to drive home to kids the message that good foods and good play go hand in hand.

Created  by the trusted National Dairy Council and the NFL, working in conjunction with the USDA, this multi-faceted program covers all aspects of child nutrition and health. It has improved this year by adding a local, state and national student ambassador program.

Getting kids to eat healthy foods and exercise for the recommended 60 minutes every day has proven to be a tall task for many families. By adding support from well known and respected NFL players, it’s hoped that kids will establish life long healthy habits and stem the rise of childhood obesity. Parents and teachers who wonder how to get started with this task can find some great resources on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website, which features video clips, recipes, and exercise hints.


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Lessons in Proper Nutrition: Teaching MyPlate in the Classroom

When it comes to eating healthy, it’s never to early to start. Although nutrition can seem like a difficult topic to discuss with a young child, keeping it simple can set them up for a lifetime of healthy choices.

With the recent unveiling of the new USDA food icon MyPlate, starting up nutrition conversations with individuals of any age has become much more simple. In fact, the new icon is so recognizable that even young children can begin to identify what a healthy plate should look like. Educators and parents alike should use this symbol to not only help their children build healthy plates, but to start conversations with them about what eating healthy is and the importance behind it.

To help educators and parents out, many lesson plans exist to incorporate the MyPlate icon into the classroom and the home. To add to this ever-growing list of fabulous resources, please find two additional lesson plans ready for use below. The idea behind these is to make talking about nutrition fun and help children identify how their food choices fit into a well-balanced meal plan.


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Help Your Child go Back to School Safely with a Peanut Allergy

My son has a severe, life threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. We discovered this food allergy when he was two years old and we just could not figure out why he had severe asthma, requiring multiple emergency room visits, steroids and the like. He also randomly developed enormous hives all over his body and had difficulty breathing when the hives occurred. We took him to an allergist who tested him with both a skin test and a blood test, and we learned of the severity and breadth of the allergies.

Food allergies are different from food intolerances. A food intolerance can cause stomach upset, gastric distress, and possibly digestive issues in the form of diarrhea and constipation. Many people claim that they have a food allergy when a food does not agree with them, and this diminishes the severity for those with a true, life threatening allergy. A food allergy is defined as an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system, and is most often triggered by the so called “Big 8″.  These eight foods account for 90% of all food reactions and are milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish, sesame, wheat and soy.

You may hear of a person outgrowing their food allergies, but peanut and shellfish most often remain as lifelong allergies. A food allergy affects the breathing and heart and can, if not stopped in time, lead to death. People who have been diagnosed with a food allergy are often prescribed an epi-pen, an auto-injector of epinephrine that must be injected into the upper thigh to stop the reaction.


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Rediscover “Me Time” and Refocus on Fitness

The school bell has rung. The breeze that you just felt pass you by wasn’t a wind, but instead it was the sigh of millions of  parents everywhere, breathing a sigh of relief. The kids are back in school, and that means that mom or dad can once again find time for themselves. Summer is a fun time for kids, but admittedly, it does leave something to be desired for parents, especially in the area of fitness. It can be difficult for a parent to devote hours to gym time, even if training for a race means that you simply must work out.

How can you rediscover “you” time? How can you get back in the habit of taking time to put yourself first – and more importantly, WHY should you?

If you’ve ever flown, you’ve heard the flight attendant instructions in the event of an emergency. Adults are always instructed to place their own oxygen masks on first, and then care for young children or those companions who may need help – or in the case of one humorous flight attendant, the women were told to care for themselves before their spouses. Humorous, yes, but there’s a grain of truth in this. If you don’t have anything in you to give, if you are depleted and exhausted – there’s no taking care of your family. You can’t give what you don’t have, and so it is mandatory to fill your own tank before you help your family.


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