Tag Archives: school

School Incentives – Rewards

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State testing in our school district is currently happening.  The girls came home last week with a sheet of paper with the words “Incentive Program” at the top.  As I began reading through this sheet of paper, I suddenly started to feel frustrated and kinda angry.  Why do kids need incentives for doing something that is standard in their school curriculum?

There are 10 bullet points on this sheet of paper and EVERY single one of them is a reward for how the students score on their state testing performance!!!  Seriously, is this for real?   Am I just over reacting on this or looking at it from a different perspective?  I don’t agree with the pressure put on students for state testing, let alone the testing and I don’t feel it is an accurate display of a child’s abilities. Just seems so backwards to helping kids learn life skills for when they are out in the world.

Of course I want my children to perform well and succeed in what they work for.  I also want them to fail.  They must learn how to solve, navigate and overcome many obstacles in life. If they are rewarded for every step along the way,  I am failing as a parent.  But that is neither here nor there and a completely different post.

There are a couple incentives listed that are not food related, thumbs up for that!   For example, “Every student who scores Met Standards or Exceeded Standards in English and Math will be able to keep their elective”.   I think it means, if you do not take the test there will not be a score, therefore you will not get to keep your elective. It is unclear of the meaning behind it.

 

 

Encouraging and supporting these students is great, I am all for that. With the way society and world is lately, we all need that extra positive nudge in our lives.  I also understand some need a little more than others.  Incentives to receive rewards can work but are not always the best choice, especially when it comes to food/candy (read past post).  Kids DO NOT need to receive a reward for EVERYTHING they do and accomplish.  Correct me if I am wrong, this is not how it works in life later on. 

 

 

 

 

Fallnola

The girls have been putting in a request for granola lately and it is something that I have wanted to try. Our mornings and evenings have been cooling off which is feeling a little like fall as well as making it tolerable to use the oven more. Ava has been on a smoothie bowl fixation and the granola is what she said was missing. The evenings have been long with all the baking and taste testing, I figured granola should be pretty easy to put together. Well it sort-of was, getting the spices (flavor) down was a little harder than I realized because I wasn’t measuring, I was adding and tasting until I liked the taste. After the second batch, I felt I had it figured out. One of the convenient things about granola, you can kinda add what you want in it. This is the recipe for one of the batches I made and the flavor had a “fall” feeling.

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Lunch and Snack Ideas for Kids

During the school year and the summer break,  I rely on some of the favorites picked by the kids to keep well stocked, which means batch baking, dicing and slicing. I also like to try new recipes to change things up a bit. The list is ever evolving and changing, so be sure to check the Kids tab for new ideas!  Everything I have on my blog are recipes that are consumed and liked by my family, kid approved! What is wonderful about these choices is they work for lunches and/or snacks, and are not filled with corn starch, corn syrup, oil, refined sugar, white flour, bleached flour and the many non food ingredients found in most packaged items. I will say we do have our occasional packaged pretzels and Late July crackers in the pantry, there are far worse options than those. Sports are a large component of our family, so I keep these, along with lots of fresh fruits and veggies on hand for those grab-n-go moments. I have included a variety of options for those who do and don’t have food sensitivities.

kid snack summer

And remember, these aren’t just for kids :)

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One of the top requested from my girls are Zucchini Muffins. Love that these have some veggies in them and can be made without nuts and are dairy free, soy free and a gluten free option. And double up the recipe and store in the freezer for lasting snacking.

Kinda Like Muffins are another huge hit around here and with friends. Another snack that can be changed up to your liking, with or without chocolate, with or without nuts. Perfect size for grab-n-go time and store in the freezer for long lasting. My kids will eat them straight from the freezer, I have yet to try them like that but they say they are tasty that way.  The Blender Pancakes have been a great snack lately, I double the batch and then store the remaining pancakes in the fridge.  They hold well for quick grab and go, and the kids pack them as snacks for school too.

Pesto Roll Ups are another quick lunch fix. I make pesto once in while and we will use it for the wraps. These are filling, flavorful and easy to make. The PBJB Burrito is another “wrap” the kids make, even though we may have bread, they prefer a tortilla most of the time. They will also just do PBB, which is peanut butter and banana rolled up.  Sierra’s Potato Salad is another addition to the lunches.  As well as Quinoa Salad.  My kids will pack these nuggets in their lunch with ketchup, yes cold packed.  Made with chickpeas which are a great source of fiber, carbs, calcium, iron, protein and vitamin A, which make for a great snack or some fuel for a workout., Chick’,LESS Nuggets.

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Granola and granola bars are very convenient and come in many varieties in the store. What is not convenient is the ingredients. Avoid the unnecessary sugars and find something that is less processed.  Best to find other options, but if you are going to buy bars, I suggest, Lara Bars (read ingredients), Go Raw, Picky Bars and That’s It Bars.  Keep in mind when buying bars the less ingredients the better and where on the list the ingredient falls. They are intended to provide your body with fuel. Regardless of what you call them, it is wise to look at the ingredients to determine whether they are a nutritious choice or merely empty calories. Look for words (AND STAY AWAY FROM THEM) like brown rice syrup, agave, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, corn syrup, soy oil, coconut sugar, raw sugar. These are glorified names for added sugars that are totally not necessary, buy organic if possible, as with anything, if you don’t recognize an ingredient don’t buy it.  Here are a couple I have made: Oatmeal Cookies , Dark Chocolate Granola Bars , Fallnola, Hangry Bars.

Whether you need something for school or sports, these Energy Bites and Raw Cookies and Hangry Bars are the bomb! They are a powerful package in a small bite and are such a better option than a sports bar. My husband packs these on his long bike rides and we keep them handy for our backpacking excursions as well.

The girls are always putting fresh fruit and vegetables in their lunch which are the largest portion of their lunch, whether it be a mini salad (fruit too), sliced apples, stone fruits, grapes, cuties, sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumbers and many other varieties.  Always have fruits and veggies packed in lunches.  Keep some of the favorites stocked, but also give them varieties to try because limiting to only their favorite will limit their body of vitamins and minerals.

An example of a hummus veggie wrap lunch

 

Cucumbers are a favorite around here, especially since we started growing our own. Kyla’s Cucumbers Snack and Mikes Mango Madness are popular with my kids and their friends. Even just sprinkling salt and pepper with the lemon is refreshing.

Hummus, it goes with so much, veggies, crackers, wraps or as a salad dressing with some balsamic stirred with it. There are many store bought brands and flavors. Downside, there is “stuff” in there that doesn’t need to be, like oil (soybean, canola, safflower). Hummus is fairly easy to make and you can find many recipes on the internet that do not use oil, citric acid, potassium sorbate, phosphoric, cultured dextrose or “natural flavors”. Here are some great hummus recipes to try.

 

Some of my favorite recipe makers have put together some suggestions:

Veggies Don’t Bite – Easy School Lunches

Dreena Burton – Tips For Lunches

Fully Raw – Lunchbox Ideas

Making sure you provide plenty of FRESH options will not only provide balanced nutrition for you and your children, but it will introduce making better choices.  The more that is accessible, the easier it will be. And sometimes the most simplest of items are all that is needed.

 

 

Specialty Sandwich

The girls do not eat sandwiches often but they came up with their own creation to take to school for lunch. One day they asked Jon and I if we wanted a specialty sandwich for lunch, Jon said “sure”, I was a little hesitant because I like to know what is in my food :)  but I went with the flow and was surprisingly served with a very tasty sandwich.   I was quite impressed they used the resources they had and have now made this their specialty sandwich when they feel like eating one. I just need to make sure we have certain ingredients stocked so they can work their creations in the kitchen.

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Category: Kids, Lunch | Tags: , , ,

Alternatives To Rewarding With Candy

As I sat a few weeks ago waiting for my kids to get their hair cuts, I was enthralled with a scene going on with another child getting ready to get their hair cut.  The parent was trying to work with the child to get up in the chair, the child wasn’t budging. I could see that the parent was not only trying to maintain her composure but also working quickly to come up with an incentive. I heard the parent say “if you can help the nice lady out and get up in that chair, I will give you 20 extra minutes of electronics”. In my mind, I thought, wow! totally impressed with the non use of treats/food/toys and calmness! The child proceeds to get on to the chair. Then the hairdresser leans over to the child and says, “I will give you a lollipop if you can sit still in the chair”. I think I had the same look on my face as the parent did. Now, as a parent, I sat there and thought to myself, there was no need for her to offer a lollipop, the parent solved the situation, so why did she feel she had to interfere. Reflecting on this made me realize that we are all guilty of it, rewarding children with treats/food/toys is prevalent and it is done by parents, teachers, parent groups, administrators, coaches, grandparents and even hair dressers, doctors, banks and the like, and no one really seems to question it. Schools do it! It is a challenge in which I work to improve at the children’s school, yet disappointingly find it not changing. Why is it encouraged to reward children for everything they do or with candy/treats/food that threaten children’s health and diets and reinforces poor eating habits and choices. When did receiving social rewards not be good enough?

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Baked Pumpkin Rounds

The other night I had decided to create a brownie using avocado, let’s just say it was an epic disaster. As I was mixing it and pouring into the pan, I thought, this would be a good “mousse” type dessert. But I second guessed myself and continued on. After all was done in the oven, I realized I forgot to add an ingredient so it came out like dark sludge. Well that was that, I needed to get a few things dialed in and try it another night. I then decided, I should try the breakfast oatmeal I make and tweak it a little and make some muffins. So with paper and pen I began the chicken scratch and pouring into bowls. Once they were placed in the oven, OH the smell was filling up the house! It was like a fall party. The kids were asking what smelled so good and I replied, I hope they taste as good as they smell! Success came from the oven and multiple testers have agreed these are tasty baked rounds. We just couldn’t decide if they were breakfast, a snack or a treat… they are just yummy!!

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Monday Mantra – Better than Yesterday

I came across this quote during a time the girls were having ‘one of those days’ and it was a good reflection on the discussions we were having.

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Zucchini Muffins

Back to school, means snacks, lunches, homework, snacks and sports on a daily basis for this family. We have a 7th grader who is on the school volleyball team and plays recreational soccer. Her practices for volleyball are 5 days a week and soccer is twice a week. Our 5th grader is doing school volleyball and recreational soccer as well. For her volleyball practice and soccer is twice a week on the same days. The kids do not have the same sports schedule, therefore even more of a need to have the fridge stocked with some goodness. The fruit and veggies are always abundant in the fridge, but those are sometimes not as exciting as bars or muffins. We do not buy packaged snacks to keep on hand so a lot of taste testing goes on to find what makes the cut to stay. I had made zucchini bread a few months back and wanted to refine it a bit more, so I decided to make it into muffins. I stayed up late one evening and made a batch of these muffins and some Kinda Like Muffins to get a start for the week.

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