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Archive for April, 2017

Balancing Breakfast: Quick, Creative Tips for Busy Families

Though we’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—especially for children—it is often a casualty of morning mayhem. Start your child’s day off with a nutritious and energy-boosting breakfast. Children (grown-ups too!) who consistently eat balanced breakfasts have more energy, better diets, perform better and are less likely to be anxious or irritable. We’re busy with our daily routines and sometimes it seems difficult to find healthy foods that children enjoy. Serving up a balanced breakfast is actually easier than it seems!

 

Trying these nutritious breakfast tips and easy ideas can help make mornings cheerier, keep tummies fuller and help provide lots of energy.

  • Cutting foods into fun shapes with seasonal, animal or other cookie cutters is a quick way to turn a boring breakfast into a tummy pleaser.
  • Whip up a mixed fruit smoothie using crushed ice, yogurt, fresh or canned fruit and add brightly colored frozen juice concentrate. Garnish with an orange wedge. This can be made the night before to save time in the morning.
  • Toast a whole grain toaster waffle, top with low-fat berry cream cheese. Create a flower or other fun design on top using sliced strawberries and peaches.
  • Spread peanut butter in a whole wheat tortilla. Add raisins and banana slices, roll up tightly and slice to create yummy pinwheels.
  • Serve up a ‘breakfast sundae’ by layering low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit and crunchy granola cereal in a fun, see-through container. Top with a cherry or grape and use colored cereal bits for “sprinkles.”
  • Turn an ordinary bowl of whole grain cereal with milk into something more exciting by topping with sliced star fruit, pomegranate seeds or other unexpected bright fruit.
  • Scramble egg whites with low-fat cheese and diced, colorful veggies. Add tomatoes for eyes, a baby carrot for a nose, a slice of turkey bacon for the mouth—even broccoli for hair!

Create a ‘breakfast pizza’ using a whole wheat English muffin. Spread the English muffin with low-fat flavored cream cheese and top with diced fruits or veggies.

Choosing a Summer Program

According to research conducted by the National Center for Summer Learning, which is based at the Johns Hopkins School of Education in Baltimore, Maryland, summer learning loss accounts for about two-thirds of the difference in the likelihood of a student pursuing a college preparatory path in high school. As these findings indicate, keeping children’s brains challenged throughout the summer is crucial, since the lack of learning that occurs during these months has both short-term and long-term consequences.

Keeping a child’s day consistent throughout the summer months keeps the brain focused and helps prevent learning losses during the summer. In addition, this can potentially ease the anxiety that often accompanies transitioning into a new classroom or school come fall.

Research has shown that programs like The Goddard School that have specific learning goals, use learning and developmental standards and are age-appropriate are ideal in preventing summer learning losses. 

Tips for Choosing a Summer Program:

  • Choose a program that is based on each child’s interests and natural curiosity – this allows children the opportunity to direct their own learning.
  • Ask for credentials, experience and training of the teachers/counselors.
  • Check the health and safety practices of the program.  Make sure you are comfortable that the program will be able to handle your child’s unique needs.
  • Inquire about the daily schedule of the program.  Does the program combine songs, stories, exploration, art, physical activities and learning adventures in a safe, nurturing environment?  Ask how much freedom a child has to choose activities.
  • Ask for references.