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May, 2015

In May, eggs are a Foods of the Month! We love eggs and all the different recipes that you can create with this superfood. Eggs can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy the egg yolk (the yellow part) for a dose of good fats and healthy (HDL) cholesterol. Mini egg omelets are an excellent idea for a portable breakfast for yourself or for your children. Cook up a batch at the beginning of the week, refrigerate, then reheat each morning for a quick and nutritious meal. See our favorite combinations below.

For the egg omelet, simply use a muffin pan (with lots of grease!) to cook your eggs. Fill each circle about 1/3 of the way to the top, then add your favorite fillings. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until you can poke with a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let stand until it is cool then carefully remove the mini omelets from the muffin pan.

Ham and Cheese Mini Egg Omelet – Add cubes of reduced-fat ham (these can be purchased at the deli counter) and shredded low-fat cheddar cheese. This combination is high in protein and will keep you feeling full until lunch.

Veggie Lover’s Mini Egg Omelet – Add your favorite chopped veggies like spinach, onions, and red peppers to give your body a boost of vitamins and minerals at the beginning of the day

Kitchen Sink Mini Egg Omelet – Use all the leftover veggies in your fridge to create your own combination! At the beginning of each week, make a plan to create your mini egg omelets with any veggies that you have not used. You can cut up asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, etc. and add your favorite low-fat cheeses. Remember which combinations you like to repeat in the future!

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In the mood for more healthy egg recipes? You may also like these egg frittatas and other egg breakfast ideas.

We all like to have a good reason to celebrate, but a celebration doesn’t always have to be unhealthy! Next week is Cinco de Mayo, so we wanted to share some tasty, yet healthy recipes to enjoy during your Cinco de Mayo celebrations!

Need an appetizer? Start out with this yummy Corn Salsa or you could serve up these Slow Cooker Vegetarian Stuffed Green Peppers.

But if you are looking for the main dish, try any one of these recipes listed below:

Walnut “Meat” Taco Salad – a popular meat substitute for vegetarians or vegans, walnut meat makes for a great nut-based dinner. Simply combine ¾ cup walnuts with ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, and 1 tsp. each of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and ½ tsp. salt in the food processor and process until it becomes the consistency of ground meat. Mix together with lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes, black beans, avocado, red onion and low-fat Mexican cheese for a tasty dinner.

Crockpot Creamy Mexican Chicken – Place 2 chicken breasts at the bottom of the slow cooker. Add 1 15 oz. can of black beans (drained), 1 7 oz. can green chiles, 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, 1 15 oz. can of corn (drained), and 1 package of taco seasoning. Cook on high for 6 hours, until chicken is cooked. Use a fork to remove chicken and shred. Place chicken back in the slow cooker, add 1 package low-fat cream cheese and cook on high for 30 minutes. Serve with whole grain tortillas.

Mexican Veggie Burrito – Add cumin and cilantro to your vegetable mixture. Place about 1/2 cup of your veggies in a whole grain tortilla and top with low-fat Mexican cheese, low-fat sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. We like to warm ours up on the stovetop so the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted.

Whole Wheat Chicken Burritos – Serve healthy burritos for dinner with this simple recipe. Start with a whole wheat tortilla. Sprinkle low-fat Mexican style cheese over the bottom third of the tortilla. Then add diced grilled chicken, cooked black beans, tomato salsa, guacamole and low-fat sour cream. Carefully, fold the left and right side of the tortilla in, then roll up the tortilla starting at the bottom. Transfer the rolled burrito to a sandwich press or to a skillet on medium heat. Cook until the tortilla becomes crispy. Serve immediately. The ingredients can also be stored in the refrigerator for several days for leftovers.

Mexican Style Chicken Roll-ups – Combine one chopped green pepper, 1/2 jalapeno pepper, low-fat pepper jack cheese, and 2 tbsp. of low-fat cream cheese. Scoop 2 tbsp. of the mixture onto the chicken breats, roll up and place on a baking sheet seam side down. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve with tomato salsa and black beans for a filling meal.

Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas – Use a whole grain tortilla, low-fat Mexican cheese, and a mixture of black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro for this quesadilla recipe. Spread a thin layer of cheese over the tortilla, then add the mixture of fillings to the bottom half of the quesadilla. Fold it over, then use a sandwich press or cook on the stove top until the cheese becomes melted.corn-quesadilla-300x198

What are your Cinco de Mayo plans?

by Julie Green

by Julie Green

Looking for a last minute teacher appreciation gift idea? We like to share this fun idea every year, because it’s really a cost-efficient, yet meaningful way to show teachers your appreciation for all the hard work they put in day in and day out!

Kids are getting excited that the end of the school year is soon approaching. It’s almost summer time!! As a parent, the end of the school year means some added expenses that may not be in the budget, including costly teacher appreciation gifts. If your child has several teachers, or you have several children with one or many teachers, this can be a costly undertaking.

Teachers love gifts, but mostly gifts from the heart of the children they have taught. An Acrostic Poem from a student will always be a cherished gift; it is a creative way to communicate feelings of appreciation in an artistic way.

Our illustrator helped us create this one, but your child could decorate with paint, crayons, cut out pictures, fabric, etc. Be original and have him/her put their own personality into the project. To make it more formal, you could put the poem in a frame with the school year and date on it. Not only will your child be proud of the gift, but the teacher will also be impressed and have a personal and positive memento to cherish.

OWG acrostic Poem

For even more ideas, last week we shared some other ways to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. What is your favorite go-to teacher appreciation gift?

May Strong BonesWe continue our series in which we are promoting healthy behaviors to be implemented and tracked for an entire month (and hopefully beyond). The behavior to implement in May is to build strong bones by eating or drinking at least 3 calcium-rich foods each day, along with getting outdoors to play . You can download and print your May Behavior Tracking Sheet and use in your home, classroom, or childcare center to encourage and track behavior change.

We are always posting healthy recipes that are simple and good for the entire family. To help you come up with some healthy calcium-rich food options, try out these OrganWise-approved low-fat dairy snacks and low-fat dairy dinners.

Watch as Calci M. Bone teaches everyone her favorite calcium cheer:


Remember it’s about making small changes in your daily lives that will get you to where you want to be. It’s a marathon … not a sprint, which is a perfect analogy for The OrganWise Guys!

What are some of your favorite calcium-rich foods for building strong bones?

 

 

Peter Pancreas Keep Kids FocusedWe all know what happens at the end of the school year … kids become less focused and eager for the summer months filled with no school work! It is important that we keep kids focused and remind them to continue to work hard at school in order to finish up the year with good grades. Once the school year ends is the time to celebrate the summer! Peter Pancreas offers this reminder with a fun coloring and activity sheet to download. Your teachers will be thankful for this little reminder to keep kids focused.

Good Luck!

Peter Pancreas

 

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Click Activity Sheet

Teacher Appreciation Week

Next week (May 4-8) is Teacher Appreciation Week, and with it, comes the stress of finding that perfect thing that says thank you to the teachers who influence, inspire, and challenge our children 180 days (or more) each year.

In working with teachers and conducting a very unofficial poll, I have found that a majority of them are motivated and inspired by feeling appreciated. While gift cards and other gifts are nice (and I’m sure will be happily accepted by most), the most meaningful and impactful gifts for teachers are those that reassure them they are making a difference in the life of your child (after all, that’s why many of them entered into this profession). Bonus for us as parents, true appreciation gifts don’t take a lot of money, just some creative thinking on your part.

Additionally, please don’t forget about those teachers that interact with your child on a regular basis but aren’t the classroom teacher, including music, PE, art, reading, computers and other teachers. They can have just as great of an impact, if not greater, than that of the classroom teacher and also deserve to feel appreciated during this week. I don’t know about your child, but my son thinks his PE teacher is the coolest person on this planet (and my appreciation gift to him will include this statement).

So, my challenge to you during Teacher Appreciation Week is to provide each teacher your child interacts with a statement about how they have made a difference in your child’s life. A simple story, a statement about how your child’s work has improved because of them, or a quote directly from your child about what they like about them. Tuck this note of appreciation into your gift card or other gift and I promise you the teacher you’re giving it to will truly feel the meaning of Teacher Appreciation Week. They will treasure that note and feel the appreciation they so deserve and the motivation they need to continue to deliver quality education and inspiration for the remainder of the year.

I think a quote from Margaret Cousins does an amazing job of summarizing what we, as parents, can do for our teachers; “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

small MGriffin headshot copyToday we feature OWG guest blogger and childhood obesity consultant, Melodie Griffin. Melodie’s passion lies in the prevention of childhood obesity through the school and early learning settings. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope. You can connect with Melodie on her Facebook page, WellConnect LLC.

 

School Lunch Hero Day

Food Service professionals using The OrganWise Guys in Wayne County, Tennessee

Between preparing healthy food, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals have a lot on their plate. To celebrate their hard work and commitment, a number of schools will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on May 1. This day, celebrated annually since 2013, was designated by The School Nutrition Association and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series. School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who provide healthy meals to 30 million of America’s students each school day.

We are such firm believers in the important role that school nutrition professionals play in promoting healthy school meals for our children. Why not take a few minutes to create something special for the lunchroom staff in your school?

Here are a few simple ideas:

Write thank you cards – Have the students thank the lunchroom staff for the great job that they do! Each student can create their own card, or make a large one and have everyone sign it.

Name their favorite foods – Older students can let the lunchroom staff know which food items are their favorite and why. This is a great time for you to emphasize the healthy food options that they enjoy.

Draw food pictures – The younger kids can draw pictures of their favorite foods served either for breakfast or lunch.

Perform a skit – Come up with a fun little song that several students or the entire class can perform during lunch. Everyone will have fun with this!

Cook for them – How about bringing the lunchroom staff your favorite healthy treat! Try a yummy Greek yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola or a tasty fruit smoothie to brighten up their day!

However you choose to say thanks, whether it be on School Lunch Hero Day or during School Nutrition Employee Week (May 4-8), it’s a great opportunity to show the school nutrition workers a little bit of appreciation for the hard work that they put in each day!

Share with us what you plan to do to celebrate these important workers!

Hey everybody,Hardy teach your kids about gratitude

It’s important to teach your kids about gratitude. Teacher Appreciation Day is next month, but why do we have to wait until a certain day of the year to say thank you to the important people in our lives, who deserve appreciation and gratitude all year long? Why not teach your kids to be grateful and vocal about this gratefulness each and every day? Teach them about gratitude from an early age and show them how it can positively affect people’s lives. What a great life lesson to learn and carry out on a daily basis. It’s the little things that can make a big difference in someone’s life!

Here’s to teaching gratitude and saying thanks to your teachers today!

Hardy Heart

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Healthy nuts are an April Foods of the Month. Did you know they taste great in salads? Consider swapping out croutons, or other crunchy/fried toppings you may typically put on your salads for nuts instead. Adding a handful of healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, or hazelnuts to your favorite salad recipe provides a dose of good fats. Also, as a budget saving tip, visiting a higher end supermarket may pay off when shopping for nuts. Many of them have dispensers where you can select the exact amount you need.  Continue reading

We want to talk obesity by the numbers. Obesity, specifically childhood obesity, is consistently in the news these days. Kids are growing up in the technology age, offering a more sedentary lifestyle. Busy families and the convenience of fast food prevents kids from eating healthy meals. What we have found in our 20+ years of working in this arena is that early intervention is key; the younger, the better!

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