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Back To Reality: Easy Meal Prep for Healthy School Lunches

2 minute read

Meal Prep for Healthy School Lunches

With the start of the school year right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your kid’s school lunches. You don’t want to send them off with a lunchbox full of pretzels or rely on whatever the school serves. No, you want to be the parent that packs a healthy, fun lunch that will keep your kid satisfied.

So here’s your playbook for successfully planning, prepping, and packing healthy school lunches.

Meal Planning

  • Make sure to check any food guidelines provided by your kid’s school. They’ll clue you in on any allergy concerns and foods you need to avoid.
  • Healthy School Lunches by Eating Well gives fun and healthy ideas from food and nutrition experts for keeping your kids’ lunches fresh, even classics like PB&J
  • com gives a whole Month’s Worth of School Lunch Ideas that are simple and guaranteed crowd pleasers
  • We shared some no-heat-need options that are relevant all year round, and easy to prep ahead of time
  • Non-sandwich options are great for switching things up a bit
  • And here are some diet-specific options:

Meal Prep

Once you’ve planned your menu for the week, (or even for the month, if you’re ambitious), it’s time for the prep work.

Prep work:

  • Wash, slice, and pack fruits and veggies in individual-sized containers on Sunday night so they’re ready to go throughout the week
  • Freeze, freeze, freeze. Check out this mom’s ideas for preparing school lunches in the freezer
  • Organize with sectioned lunch boxes or ziplock containers, cupcake liners, reusable baggies, whatever fits your style and budget
  • Invest in a thermos or something similar so your child doesn’t have to eat cold lunch everyday

What about picky eaters?

If you find your kid coming home with a barely-touched lunchbox, you may have a picky eater on your hands. One way to counteract this is to let your kids help with the prepping and packing of their lunches. They’re the ones who will be eating it after all, so it’s helpful to know ahead of time that what you’re taking the time to prepare and pack isn’t going to waste.

Avoid introducing something brand new to them in their lunch. Keep it familiar, yet fun with new shapes for fruits and veggies, sandwich picks in their favorite color, or a note or picture to get them excited for lunch.

If your child will only eat the same three things and you’re desperate for them to branch out, consider a reward system to get them to try something different. That way you can combine their favorites with one newer item for them to try and consider adding to the normal rotation. This is a great way to create balanced, healthy school lunches.

Archive |

Keep Cool at the Pool with a Hawaiian Luau and Sponge Leis

2 minute read

Searching for a way to keep your kids cool while spending time in the hot summer sunshine? With the season in full swing and the temperatures outside sweltering, there’s no better time to have a summer pool party to cool down! Make things even more fun by giving your party a tropical theme and host your own miniature Hawaiian luau as you head to the pool.

Since no luau is complete without leis, try this project for Hawaiian Sponge Leis that will help you stay comfortable in the heat! The sponges will drip cool water from the pool onto your skin as the sun beats down on you.

This easy craft is also the perfect DIY project for a trip to the beach or a day spent playing in the sprinklers. You and your kids will stay cool even after getting out of the water.

Materials Needed

Fresh, colorful sponges

Scissors

Bamboo skewer

Yarn

Large threading needle

Instructions

Step One: With your scissors, cut the sponges into various shapes; three sponges can be used to make two necklaces. Unleash your inner designer and get creative with the shapes you cut!

Step Two: Using the bamboo skewer, poke a hole through both ends of each sponge piece.

Step Three: Thread a large needle with 25 inches of yarn. To assemble the lei, run the needle and yarn through the holes you made in the sponges. Then tie off the yarn to finish the lei.

Step Four: Throw on your lei and jump in the pool or dunk your lei in water. The wet sponges will keep your kids’ skin cool as they play in the summer sunshine!

Archive |

Back To Reality: How To Get Kids Ready For Back-to-School

3 minute read

Going back to school is a huge transition for kids of any age. So the best way to prepare them for the first day back to school (and to lower your own stress levels), is to plan ahead!

We’ve got some helpful tips for staying positive and calm as summer comes to a close and those back-to-school tasks start to pile up.

Do your research

Find out ahead of time if your child will have a specific dress code and check school websites for orientation dates or “meet the teacher” nights. Familiarizing your child with his or her teacher and school is a great way to get them feeling comfortable around them. Here are some easy steps you can take: 1. Print out the teacher’s picture and keep it next to other school planning materials your child will see each day. 2. Talk to your child about all the fun activities their teacher will have planned for them. 3. Take your child to the school they’ll be attending to show them where you’ll drop them off each day.

Be prepared

Shopping for your children’s school supply list early lessens anxiety for both child and parents. Tax free weekend (check to see if your state has one) is the perfect time to stock up. Let your children help with shopping so there’s more excitement when it comes to all the fun learning tools they will be using during the upcoming year. Have them pack their backpacks and pick their outfits the night before so everything will be ready to go in the morning. This is a great system to implement the whole year to teach your child independence and responsibility.

It’s also a great idea to sit down with your child—especially younger children—the night before they go back to school and walk them through what that first day will look like so they can be as mentally prepared as possible.

Practice routines

Summer can create some pretty bad habits when it comes to sleeping and eating for the whole family.

At least one week before your child heads back school, make sure your they are going to bed earlier and waking up at the same time they will need to wake up for school. This will help them and you get back into a solid sleep routine so that everyone is guaranteed a good night’s sleep.

It can also be helpful to start eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time they will be eating those meals once they go back to school. This will help transition their bodies back to three regular meals as opposed to all day grazing that can become the norm over the summer months.

Another great practice is to let kids help with packing their lunches for the next day after dinner every night. Bentgo has great options for making kids’ lunches fun and organized. You could start this a couple days before the start of school and enjoy some picnic lunches at the park to celebrate the last few days of summer.

Focus their minds

It’s common for kids to forget some of the things they learned the previous year over the course of summer vacation. (Known as “summer learning loss.”)

To help with this, you don’t need to play school with them at home and practice flash cards, give spelling tests, or assign homework. But a simple yet impactful step you can take is to read with them or to them. Reading to your child or giving them the set time to read quietly every day can make a huge difference. If that is something your family already does, try and switch it up with some trips to the library so the kids are presented with new book options. It also gives them a chance to practice inside voices and good body basics that tend to go out the window during the craziness of summer vacation.

Archive |

Swimming the best activity for kids

2 minute read

Swimming in the summer is a no-brainer. What better way to keep cool on those long, hot days than going to the pool, the beach, or the lake?

Beyond the dog days of summer, swimming has benefits that last a lifetime. Check out some of the ways swimming can contribute to your kid’s well-being.

Safety

Safety is always important with water activities, and you should ensure your child knows how to swim and how to react in emergency situations. Year-round swimming lessons will teach them everything from the fundamentals like floating to advanced skills like helping someone in danger.

It can take awhile for kids to get comfortable in the water, so if they’re initially reluctant, don’t be afraid to reintroduce swimming from time to time. Being around the water teaches kids about responsibility and awareness in all situations.

Physical Health and Wellness

Research suggests that regular physical activity can improve focus and help retain memories. Swimming is a great way to get that regular exercise because it works the whole body while putting little to no strain on joints. It also helps to improve cardiovascular function, lung capacity, and stamina. Plus it can increase strength, muscle, and flexibility.

Sometimes we don’t realize how important all those things are until we get older! So do your kids a favor and get them started with low-impact swimming now. It can set them up with a lifetime of benefits and help maintain their quality of life as they age.

 Social and Emotional Health

Swimming lessons provide a fun and non-traditional opportunity for children to interact with their peers. They get to make new friends outside of school, which teaches them invaluable social skills and can provide an increased sense of confidence.

It can also instill a healthy competitive streak. Whether they’re competing against the person in the next swim lane or just trying to beat their personal record, swimming gives kids a chance to expand their skill-set and competitive drive.

And don’t forget the emotional benefits! Due to the natural buoyancy of water, swimming is often far more relaxing than other forms of exercise. Stress relief and mood improvement are huge benefits that can boost overall health in adults and children alike.

Life Skills

Simply put, swimming is an important life skill. It’s a healthy, fun activity for kids, and as they get older it can open up job opportunities like lifeguard, camp counselor, coach, member of the military, athlete, and more. Whether or not your child expresses interest in those career fields, the ability to swim can serve them well in whatever path they choose.

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5 Ways to Spend Family Quality Time

2 minute read

Tips for Summertime Family Fun

We’ve all heard the cliché that parents dread summer vacation just as much as their kids look forward to it. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Managing the kids’ extra free time is all about finding activities that you all enjoy doing. This helps keep everyone occupied and organized, and lets you come together as a family and enjoy good,clean family fun.

Here are just some of the benefits of taking the time to have family fun:

Families develop stronger relationships – Spending one-on-one time with each of your children builds trust and creates lifelong memories.

Children feel loved and important – Feeling valued builds self-esteem and self-worth and can lead to a more fulfilling life.

Parents become role models – Time with your kids means opportunities to model good behavior, habits, and morals that you want to instill.

Children are more comfortable with you – Growing up means going through a lot of changes, and most of them can be confusing for kids. Being in a close-knit environment where they feel comfortable enough to voice their thoughts and feelings can make all the difference.

Parents can help children grow – Helping kids reach their full potential comes from the ability to learn children’s strengths and discover areas for improvement.

And finding that quality time can be simple! Here are five ways to spend have good, clean family fun this summer:

Go Camping

Some families have their own camper and campsite that they frequent in the summer months, but even if that’s not you, camping as a family doesn’t have to go any further than your own backyard. Set up a tent or sleep under the stars right behind your house. OUTDOORSGEEK rents out tents of all kinds and ships nationwide.

Meal Prep

Sit down together and pick out meals that the whole family will enjoy. You can do the planning, shopping, and cooking together as a family a few times a week. This isn’t only fun, but it teaches your kids some new life skills. You can even find an inexpensive menu planner for the fridge.

Pizza and Movie Night

Take a break from meal planning with a scheduled pizza night once a week. Routines like this are fun to look forward to for kids and everyone loves pizza paired with a family-friendly movie.

Book Club

Depending on the age of your kids, you can all read a book together or do read-aloud time for younger kids. The important part is to be reading every day. If you need some tips, read this article: How to Start a Family Book Club.

Get Active

Go for a walk, take a bike ride, go swimming. Pick any activity that the whole family can participate in and have a good time with. Physical activity is good for the body and mind, and it’s a great way to spend the summer.

As important as this family time is, don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself! Get a babysitter and go on a date. The kids will love having someone else around and you’ll get to relax for the night—win-win!

Wellness |

Delicious Summer Recipes: No Oven Required

2 minute read

Summer is a great opportunity to eat healthy because fresh produce is EVERYWHERE. We have found five healthy and delicious summer recipes for you to try using all that great fresh produce. Even better, none of these recipes require an oven!

Five Healthy and Delicious Summer Recipes

Clean Eating Quinoa Salad: This colorful dish uses simple ingredients like kale and sweet peppers to make a tasty salad that is both healthy and perfect for taking to-go. It also yields eight servings, so, hello lunch for an entire week!

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza: A no-bake pizza that only takes ten minutes? Yes, please! This pizza is so quick and easy that it’s sure to be a favorite. Not only is it fast, but it’s completely customizable. You can add or subtract any veggies you want to make it fit your family’s tastes.

Shredded Chicken and Avocado Nachos: Two words: rotisserie chicken. Picking up a tender, juicy chicken at the grocery store can save you so much time and energy. This healthy nacho recipe can be modified as much as you like, but as is, only calls for five ingredients and can come together for a nutritious lunch in a matter of minutes!

Apple, Almond, Cheddar Sandwich: It’s not just another ham and cheese. This sandwich is packed with protein and rich flavors that complement each other perfectly. And again, recipes are meant to be broken, so don’t feel like you need to stick to only the ingredients listed. Try adding some onion for a kick, or maybe use a crunchy almond butter for more texture.

Roast Beef Summer Rolls: Instead of actually roasting beef, these summer rolls use deli roast beef to make your life easier and your cooking more efficient. Who loves saving time in the kitchen? Everyone. The filling and wrapping of the rolls takes some time, but the color and flavor of this recipe is completely worth the forty minutes. Making these from scratch is a definite plus that everyone will appreciate.

 

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These Easy Summer Desserts Are a Great Way to Keep Your Cool

3 minute read

Crafts for Kids: Easy Summer Desserts to keep cool

As your family starts to settle into that summer groove, you’re surely more likely to entertain at home. And why not? From pool parties to barbecues, summer is a great time to hone your hosting skills with your favorite guests. This easy summer dessert is the perfect DIY treat for any sweltering summer occasion. Sweet, sour, and, most importantly, refreshingly cool. You can quickly and easily whip up a few Raspberry Sorbet Lemon Bowls for the entire crew this summer.

Give it a try using the instructions below. Feel free to get creative, adapting this recipe to try other flavors! We’re thinking maybe a refreshing lemon sorbet in frozen lime bowls would be delicious. You could even try using a creamy vanilla bean sorbet in zesty orange bowls for an orange creamsicle!

Don’t forget to take pictures for Instagram and tag @AprilaireCo and #KeepYourCool so we can see you and your guests enjoying these refreshing summer desserts. Your guests will love them!

MATERIALS NEEDED

Lemons

Raspberry Sorbet

Knife

Spoons

Washi Tape

INSTRUCTIONS

Step One: Cut your lemons in half in such as way that the bumpy ends of the lemon are on either side of your knife.

Step Two: Carefully cut the bumps off of your lemons in such a way that it doesn’t puncture through and cut a hole in your lemon bowl. This will serve as the base of your summer dessert so that it stands upright, and we certainly don’t want our sweet sorbet to ooze out of the bottom.

easy-summer-desserts-lemon-sorbetStep Three: Carve out the deliciously sour fruit of the lemon so that the peel itself resembles a zesty, miniature lemon bowl. Place your miniature lemon bowls in the freezer to get them nice and chilly, perfect for a hot summer’s day.

easy-summer-desserts-sorbetStep Four: While the lemon bowls freeze, wrap brightly-colored washi tape around the tops of each spoon, leaving room for a small spoon flag. If you wish, use a pair of scissors to cut notches in the flags.

easy-summer-dessertsStep Five: Scoop raspberry sorbet into your lemon bowls and place your spoon flags inside each for a brilliantly delicious display of color.

easy-summer-desserts-raspberry-sorbet

Step Six: Stick your spoon flags in your creations, serve on a hot summer day, and watch your refreshingly easy summer dessert quickly disappear!

easy-summer-desserts-raspberry-lemon-sorbet