Beyond School Lunch: Finding Balance with Healthy Eating

School lunches have gotten a bad reputation lately. And while some of it may be warranted, many districts are working hard to introduce fresh produce and healthier options to the lunch lines. While it’s true that the healthiest option of all would be to pack a lunch for your child, there are many reasons that may not always be practical or even possible. So what’s a parent to do?

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Identifying Developmental Delays

Early identification of children with delays in their development is important because there are programs that can help boost their progress in key areas and make them more successful as they start school. Well-child checks are an important time to monitor development in speech, motor skills like walking and hand-eye coordination, and social skills like smiling, playing with others, and using their imagination.

Recently, formal questionnaires have been developed for parents to fill out that help families and their doctor track a child’s progress in these key areas. Parents are experts on their own children, and these questionnaires are a good way to tap into that expertise.

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Be Safe, Baby: A New Class for Parents

Having a baby is a very exciting time for parents, and one important thing that should not be overlooked when preparing for your newborn is safety.

Be Safe, Baby! A Class for Expectant Parents

Beginning in October, the Madison Area Safe Kids Coalition with support from Kohl’s Cares will offer a free class for expectant parents to learn the safety essentials for newborns.

Register now at

Classes are free and will be offered at various UW Health clinics in Madison and surrounding communities, and feature car seat education, safe sleep, and the period of purple crying.

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Homemade Granola Bars

Homemade Granola Bars

Food you make at home from quality ingredients will often be nutritionally superior to factory-made food. Make a double batch and wrap extras for the freezer.  You can send these to school for a snack or the lunch box. Chopping the dried fruit and nuts very fine makes the texture more acceptable for kids who are new to these foods.

Homemade Granola Bars

Makes about 15 bars

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick oats (not instant)
  • ¾ cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup dried fruit (cherries, apricots or apples), chopped fine in food processor
  • ½ cup nuts (pecans, slivered almonds or walnuts), chopped very fine in food processor
  • ¼ cup low sugar jelly or jam (cherry, apricot, grape or raspberry)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 8X8” square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine oats, flour, wheat germ, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey (measure into the same cup used for the oil and it will slide out completely), applesauce and eggs. Add dried fruit and nuts, then add this mixture to dry ingredients.
  4. Spread into baking pan and bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Spread jam over the surface on the bars.
  5. Cut into 15 bars. For school snacks, wrap in foil and crimp the ends with a fork, so the kids don’t feel their snack is “different” from the others.

What dried fruit, nut and jam combinations will you try?

Being Mindful: Helping Kids Manage Stress

We’ve all probably read or talked about what causes stress and how it affects us. Sometimes it comes from what’s going on in our lives. Other times stress comes from our desire to do more with every minute of the day.

The same is true for kids.

It can be hard to be a kid. The world is a big place, there’s a lot of pressure to do the right thing, do well in school, be good in sports. As carefree as being a kid is supposed to be, from their perspective it can sometimes seem like the world is working against them.

Learning the skills to manage stress – to take that deep breath before reacting to a situation – may help your kids feel better, and handle situations in a positive way.

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