Back-to-School Food Fit for the Family

(Family Features) As parents and kids navigate back-to-school routines and extracurricular activities, making healthy food choices is essential to keep everyone energized and engaged.

When it comes to selecting snacks and preparing meals, keep it simple and stock up on foods that are easy to prep and can be used in more than one way. One such food: fresh California grapes, which are abundant throughout the fall and into January. Crisp, juicy grapes can be eaten nearly anytime and anywhere, including school, the office and during after-school activities, at home or away.

Whether eaten fresh or frozen for a cool treat, grapes are a healthy, hydrating alternative to highly processed and calorie-rich foods. They can also be used as an ingredient in easy weeknight meals like California-Style Pizza, cousin to Hawaiian pizza, where fresh grapes star instead of pineapple and prepared pizza dough gives the cook a head start. Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Grapes are an easy, fun snack or dessert that kids can help prepare.

For more snack and meal inspiration, visit grapesfromcalifornia.com

California-Style Pizza
Servings: 8

1 pound prepared pizza dough
3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups halved California seedless grapes
1 cup diced lean ham
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 450 F.

Divide dough into eight equal portions. Spread into pizza rounds on baking sheets.

Spread with pizza sauce; sprinkle with grapes, ham and cheese. Bake until dough is lightly browned and cheese melted, about 12-14 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 32 g carbohydrates; 6.2 g fat (24% calories from fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 573 mg sodium; 121 mg calcium; 1.4 g fiber.

Frozen Yogurt-Dipped Grapes
Servings: 6 (10 grapes per serving)

60 California grapes, any color, rinsed and patted dry
3/4 cup 2% vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup graham cracker flour or almond flour

Insert toothpick into each grape. Place yogurt in small bowl. Pour graham cracker or almond flour onto plate. Line 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Dip each grape into yogurt, coating two-thirds of grape, then dip yogurt-covered grape into desired flour to coat bottom. Place each dipped grape on baking dish; repeat until all grapes are yogurt-covered and dipped in flour. Freeze at least two hours, or until grapes are frozen solid.

Nutritional information per serving with graham cracker crumbs: 100 calories; 3 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 1.5 g fat (14% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 55 mg sodium; 0 g fiber.

Nutritional information per serving with almond flour: 110 calories; 4 g protein; 14 g carbohydrates; 4.5 g fat (37% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

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Source: California Table Grape Commission

Be a Hero this Halloween

(Family Features) Being a hero goes beyond dressing up in a costume this Halloween season. Children, families and schools across the country can channel their own superpowers to help deliver lifesaving supplies to children in need this October.

Halloween customes

One way to use your superpowers is to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, which began in 1950 when girls and boys across the United States collected coins in hand-painted milk cartons to help children affected by World War II. Celebrating its 69th year, this nostalgic tradition continues today as America’s longest running youth volunteer program with generations of children running door to door holding signature orange boxes and singing, “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.”

With over $180 million raised for health care, education, nutrition and more, the program has evolved into a month-long celebration of the power of kids helping kids. Throughout October, kids, parents and teachers across the country can be real superheroes by collecting donations, big and small.

Equipped with the iconic orange boxes, families can raise funds that add up to lifesaving change. As little as $1 can provide safe water to a child for more than 2 months; $3 can provide seven packets of therapeutic food; $5 can provide a pack of 10 notebooks and $7 can provide one warm fleece blanket for a child.

Halloween has become a “heroic” way to help others and build the next generation of global citizens. When kids trick-or-treat for a cause, they learn about global issues and feel empowered to make a difference.

Start creating real-world change by picking up your own little orange box. With the support of Visa Inc., the iconic box will glow in the dark, allowing superpowers to shine even brighter.

Visit TrickorTreatforUNICEF.org to download a DIY change box, donate online or find an event near you. Share your story on social media with #TOT4UNICEF, #WeCanAllBeHeroes and #KidsHelpingKids.

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Source: UNICEF

Teachers’ Top Needs for 2019

(Family Features) Great classrooms don’t happen by accident. Teachers across the country work hard to build vibrant, energizing learning environments for their students, which often means everything from microscopes to pipe cleaners, graphic novels to oboes, class pets to field trips and much more. As a result, teachers spend more than $1 billion from their own pockets each year on supplies.

However, parents and community members can lend a hand. Helping to offset teachers’ expenses can take many forms, from working directly with your child’s teacher to identify needs to participating in school-based fundraisers. Another option is sharing your assistance with a program like DonorsChoose.org, which makes it easy for any individual to address the inequity in schools, one classroom at a time.

Over the past 19 years, more than 3.8 million people have donated to classrooms through the program. Last year alone, nearly 145,000 teachers had projects funded on the site and over 255,000 classroom requests were brought to life. These requests reveal some of the key things teachers across America need for success:

Books, Books and More Books

While books may seem “old school,” teachers know that a single book can change a student’s life. Year after year, teachers request books more than any other resource. Many elementary school teachers ask for leveled reading books to meet their students’ individual needs. Others want to diversify their libraries with books that reflect their students’ identities. “The Hate U Give” and “Wonder” are among the most popular books requested this year, and e-readers have become a popular way to expand libraries beyond what the classroom bookshelf can hold.

Flexible Seating and Classroom Furniture

Many teachers credit flexible seating with transforming the classroom learning experience. Rather than rigid desks, students choose from comfy chairs, bouncy balls, bean bags or wobble stools, all designed to let students get those wiggles out so they can better focus on their work.

Technology

Because of rapidly evolving technology, 65% of children now entering primary school will hold jobs that don’t currently exist. Resources like laptops and tablets help students learn at their own pace and practice 21st century skills like coding. For example, coding robots and 3D printers are becoming some of the most popular items requested in high schools.

Back to the Basics

Many teachers simply need basic supplies: paper, pencils and tissues top the list. Last year, teachers requested enough pens and pencils to write the complete works of William Shakespeare more than 2,000 times.

Life Essentials

Another popular request is “hygiene closets,” which allow teachers to provide students facing poverty with free toiletries to take home such as deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as laundry supplies and clean undergarments.

An Appreciation for the Arts

There are plenty of extracurricular activities at nearly every school that require care and compassion from the community. Drama teams, for example, require supplies to create music, perform plays and more. Donations often allow students to explore their artistic abilities while learning how to create sets, write their own scenes, use instruments and more while simultaneously building their management and teamwork skills.

Community Service

Not all learning must take place in a classroom. In fact, teachers across the country often take aim at new ways to engage students, such as integrating practical life into the daily curriculum through an outdoor learning environment like a community vegetable garden. By requesting composters, rain barrels, seeds, gardening tools and more, educators can take their classrooms outside to help make the planet healthier while students learn how to be healthier themselves. It also gives students an opportunity to give back to their community by donating food to local families in need.

Learn more about how you can make a difference for classrooms in need at www.donorschoose.org.

Most Requested School Supplies

* Books
* Technology
* Basic classroom supplies
* Flexible seating
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Source: DonorsChoose.org