Back to School

We can’t believe that summer is nearing its close and fall and school are rapidly approaching. Back-to-school time can be an exciting and nerve racking time for both kids and parents. Time for fun. Time for learning. Time for cooler temperatures. We hope you are excited for the new school year. Here are a few tips to make sure you and your kids are healthy for back to school.

Annual Checkup
Annual checkups are an important part of everyone’s health, but especially kids. When you bring your child in for a check-up, you can expect a check of vital signs, measurements, physical examination, immunizations, and a chance to discuss concerns or to ask questions. Schedule you and your kid’s annual exam. At the same time, bring all your forms for school: sports physical, asthma, allergies, and medication administration.

First Day Worries
Many children (and parents) are worried about the first days and weeks of school. You can ease these anxieties by meeting the teacher before the first day and touring the classroom. Knowing what to expect can help kids be less nervous.   Another thing you can do is to talk about the exciting things school brings (new and old friends, learning exciting new things, a new backpack).

Make Time for Healthy Choices
It is important to build time in the morning for a healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that eating breakfast helps children and teens perform better, focus better and have more energy during the school day. Encourage them to eat something with protein, to help them stay full longer. Make sure to plan out the week’s lunches to help ensure your child is eating healthy choices they will love (and while you are making their lunch, make your own too!).

Schedule
Children need schedule and routine. The school year is a big transition, so be sure to start a sleep schedule now to be prepared for school. It’s also important to schedule afternoon time that includes homework. Some kids benefit from timers, planners, checklists or supervision to help them feel successful.

Questions? Your child’s pediatrician can discuss more concerns with back to school.

Kale and Basil Pesto

Serves: Makes 16 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (100 g) grated Parmesan cheese

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups (25 g) basil leaves

2 cups (35 g) kale leaves

3 Tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

To serve:

1lb whole wheat spaghetti

1-2 cups grape tomatoes

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Extra basil

Instructions:

  1. Add the cheese, garlic, basil, kale and pine nuts to a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil. Blend until fully incorporated.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss with cooked whole wheat spaghetti, fresh grape tomatoes and white beans. Garnish with extra basil.

Notes:

If you don’t have a food processor you can finely mince the basil, kale and garlic and whisk it with olive oil, Parmesan and salt and pepper for a more chunky version of pesto.

Summer Caprese Salad

Serves 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups balsamic vinegar

4 large ripe tomatoes

12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced

Large bunch fresh basil leaves

Olive oil, for drizzling (about 1 tablespoon)

Large pinch kosher salt

Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Measure the balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan. Bring it to a gentle boil over a low heat. Cook it until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a nice thick glaze (but still pourable), about 15 minutes. Allow the reduction to cool to room temperature before you serve it.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, cut the tomatoes into thick slices. Arrange them on a platter, alternating them with the mozzarella slices. Tuck the whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.

Drizzle on the balsamic reduction. Then drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Finally, sprinkle on salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories 140; Total Fat 9g; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 5g; Fiber 1g; Sugar <1g; Sodium 200mg

Zucchini Lasagna Roll-ups

yield: 6 servings

prep time: 45 minutes

cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

3 large zucchini, trimmed (about 4 pounds), sliced lengthwise into 24 ⅛-inch-thick strips

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound ground chicken Italian sausage

1 cup part skim ricotta cheese

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 large egg

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided

2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided

Directions

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Lay zucchini slices flat in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each side with 1/4 teaspoon salt; let stand 15 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.

In a medium bowl, combine sausage, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, basil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread 1 cup marinara sauce onto the bottom of a 1o-inch oven-proof skillet; set aside.

Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture evenly along each zucchini slice; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Roll up and place in the prepared skillet; repeat with remaining zucchini slices and filling. Top with remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lasagna rolls are heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown. Serve immediately.

See how this recipe is made: