The school year should be filled with playing, learning and growing, but for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk are missing. From the kitchen to the classroom, kids in your own community may be missing out on essential nutrients they need to be set up for success this fall.
Help Kids Falling Short on Nutrients They Need this School Year
Milk is one of the most requested, but least donated items at food banks, meaning children in need may be missing out on essential nutrients
(Family Features) The school year should be filled with playing, learning and growing, but for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk are missing. According to experts, one out of two kids ages 9 and up fall short on calcium, vitamin D and potassium – essential nutrients they need to grow strong. Milk is the top food source for these nutrients, and the likelihood of kids missing out is even greater when they don’t have access to fresh, nutritious foods like milk.
More than 46 million Americans – including 12 million children – are served by Feeding America® food banks each year. From the kitchen to the classroom, kids in your own community may be missing out on essential nutrients they need to be set up for success this fall.
Here are a few ways you can help kids facing hunger:
Since it began in 2014, The Great American Milk Drive has delivered more than 1.8 million gallons of milk – more than 28 million servings – to food banks across the country. Learn more about milk’s nutrition and the need for milk in food banks at milklife.com/give.
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Getting adequate sleep may seem impossible with a new addition to your family, but it is essential for managing stress and preparing for the day ahead. While there isn’t a magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help.
5 Ways for New Parents to Get More Sleep
(Family Features) Between feedings, changing diapers and household chores, sleep is often put on the back burner for new parents at the end of a busy day.
In fact, a survey of 2,000 parents, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mattress Firm, found the average parent loses one-third of his or her nightly sleep after a baby arrives, decreasing from an average of six hours per night to just four. The same study also found that nearly half (48 percent) of new parents said sleep loss is their biggest obstacle to overcome.
Getting adequate sleep may seem impossible with a new addition but it is essential for managing stress and preparing for the day ahead. While there isn’t a magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help:
Find time for rest
Establish a routine
Try soothing techniques
Choose the right mattress
Remember, the sleepless nights won’t last forever; the American Academy of Pediatrics notes almost all babies should be able to sleep through the night by 6 months of age. For more strategies for helping new parents sleep, visit DailyDoze.com and follow along on social media with #WorkHardSleepHarder.
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The real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers. Even if you don’t have kids in school, the end of summer and the beginning of fall is a great time to reassess, realign, hit the restart button and make resolutions, such as loving mornings, empowering kids, appreciating others, making fun a priority, being a team, making snacks work hard, fueling up with real food – like burritos and taquitos – and cheering on mom wins, that will help carry your family smoothly through the school year.
New (School) Year, New You
Make family resolutions that stick
(Family Features) Forget Jan. 1. Parents know the real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers.
Here are some tips from parents about resolutions they’ve made for the coming school year:
Learn to love mornings
“It was a disaster,” she said. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of missing socks, a lot of arguments about eating a good breakfast – it was just not the way to start a productive, happy day.”
Luther decided to turn the first – and worst – hour of her day into one of the best by waking up earlier, exercising and turning on music.
Luther also changed the way she looked at breakfast.
“It doesn’t have to be from scratch,” she said, “but it does have to have protein – and be fast. We love frozen breakfast burritos, for example.”
Empower the kids
But kids are eager to help, she said. Just like adults, they feel empowered when they can do things for themselves.
Luther decided to empower her kids and simplify her life at the same time by creating “Get Ready Buckets,” which hold everything they need to get moving in the morning, from hairbrushes to socks.
That same message of empowerment can simplify and improve other stressful times of day. Do the kids walk in the door hungry and cranky and leave you feeling the same way? Stock the freezer with hearty snacks, such as El Monterey Taquitos, that kids can heat up on their own.
“Our teachers put so much time and effort into their jobs,” Merkley said, “and we’re so grateful for that.”
While she usually gives teachers a gift card at the end of the year, she doesn’t wait until then to send notes and emails with a simple, “Thank you.” She also makes sure to say thanks in person – and in front of her kids.
Make fun a priority
“When we laugh and make things and learn things together,” she said, “we’re making memories. I want my kids to remember their childhoods as more than just getting to school on time and cleaning their rooms.”
Be a team
As their motto, the Denneys chose, “Work hard and be nice.” It’s simple, succinct and sums up what they want for their family.
Fuel up with real food
“Sometimes I’ll buy the ingredients myself to cook from scratch and sometimes I’ll look for foods I recognize on the label,” she said. “When I pick up El Monterey Signature Burritos, I see ingredients like fresh-baked tortillas, real cheddar cheese – foods I would buy anyway for my family, so I feel great about that.”
Make snacks work hard
“Protein and real food – that’s what I’m going to look for in afternoon snacks,” she said. “Something that fills the kids up and gets them ready to get back out the door and play, or buckle down and do their homework.”
Cheer on #momwins
“Checking off every last thing on my spring cleaning checklist is a win, for sure,” she said, “but so is a good, smooth morning with my family. So is a sit-down dinner that didn’t stress me out. So is feeling good about what we’re eating. So is every little hug. Those are all #momwins, and I’m going to give myself a little pat on the back for every one.”
For more breakfast, snack and dinner ideas to help you keep your family resolutions, visit ElMonterey.com.
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