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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.
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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!
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New Rules Will Remove Junk Foods from Schools by July 2014

The days of going through the lunch line at school and picking every greasy, cheesy, fatty option are soon coming to an end. The Department of Agriculture has outlined new regulations for the kinds of foods that can be sold to kids at school. For the first time, the government is tackling the content of “a la carte” lines, vending machines, snack bars and other sources of food regularly available on school campuses. According to Registered Dietitian Mary Hartley, “the policy would increase student exposure to healthier foods and decrease exposure to less healthy foods.”

kids eating lunch

Previously unregulated, the “a la carte” lines and similar non- standard lunch line options provided kids access to foods like nachos, pizza, chocolate sandwich cookies, and other unhealthy treats. Now under the new guidelines those foods will be replaced with more healthful options like granola bars and yogurt. The new regulations also outline a difference in the beverages that can be sold in schools. Elementary and middle schools will only sell water, carbonated water, low fat and fat-free milk and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices. Sodas and sports drinks that contain 60 calories or less will be made available in high schools. Though the changes don’t have to be in effect until July 1, 2014, several schools will start implementing them in the upcoming school year. It has been found that schools with this type of reform already in place have seen little to loss of revenue from food sales.


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School Food Laws May be Reducing Children’s Weight, Study Finds

When it comes to childhood obesity in the U.S., we obviously have a problem. An estimated one in three American kids and teens is obese, according to the American Heart Association. And as a result, weight-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes are on the rise in children, which leaves health experts scrambling for ways to reverse this alarming trend.

But thanks to various food laws put in place in some schools, we may be making some healthy progress.

According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, strict laws that curb the sales of junk food and sugary drinks in schools may be reducing children’s BMIs and slowing overall weight gain.

To conduct the study, researchers analyzed 6,300 students in 40 states, first measuring their heights and weights when they were fifth graders in 2004, and again when they were eighth graders in 2007. Over the same lapse of time, researchers also examined the databases of several state laws concerning nutrition in these schools.

Among the schools examined, there were a range of laws in place to govern the food and drinks being sold either in vending machines or school stores outside of designated meal times. These laws included restrictions on the sugar and fat contents of food and beverages, and the severity of these laws ranged from district to district.
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