Thursday, August 21, 2014

Packing an A+ Lunch

While many parents are excited for the start of school, packing lunches day after day can be less than thrilling. Here are 5 tips to help you pack an inspired, interactive and healthy lunch to keep your star pupil energized! 

1. Plan ahead and keep must have items stocked in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Pack as much of the lunch (if not all of it) the day or night before. Some of my favorite items I keep stocked (besides fruits and vegetables) include hummus, guacamole, Joseph’s tortillas, Beanitos chips, hardboiled eggs, canned tuna, canned wild salmon, cheese, milk and ice packs. Lunches don’t have to be complicated. Try to use the foods you already have in the house. There’s nothing wrong with packing leftovers.

2.     Include a variety of colors, textures and shapes. Put in the extra effort to make the lunch look fun and appealing for your child. If the lunch looks good, your kids are likely going to eat it. Use cookie/vegetable cutters, sandwich cutters, and silicone cupcake liners for color and portion control. I try to make lunches fun and as interactive as possible. For example, I cut shapes into cucumbers and fruit; anything that can be dipped or skewered is usually a success.

3.  Aim for a balanced lunch. Half of the lunch should consist of fruits and vegetables, a quarter protein and the last quarter should be grains, preferably whole grains. Balancing meals helps to ensure that your child gets the needed vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and fiber they need to stay healthy and satisfied. When packing lunches, I always ask myself if I have most of the colors represented and if I have items from each of the MyPlate categories. Aim for your kids to eat fruits and vegetables from all of the colors of the rainbow over the course of each day to get the most nutritional benefits.

4.     Don’t be afraid to try new foods. It’s ok if some lunches are flops, your kids will not starve! It can take many introductions to a new food before your child develops a taste for it. Offer a variety of food in each lunch and your child will have something to eat. If I’m worried something might not go over well, I show my daughter a picture of her lunch for the next day and explain what everything is. If your child is old enough, include them in the lunch planning and preparation stage.

5.     Follow me throughout the year for healthy lunch inspiration and at

Maggie Shapiro, MPH, RD, LDN

creator of Tomorrow’s Lunch

Maggie Shapiro is a Registered Dietitian and mom of two, who created Tomorrow’s Lunch to help parents and caregivers come up with healthy, colorful and creative lunches for kids. Maggie earned her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health, concentrating in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and completed her Dietetic Internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her expertise areas include general nutrition, healthy eating, weight control, heart health, childhood overweight/obesity, and maternal nutrition. Follow her nutrition tips and advice for healthy meals and

LINX Classes at Parent Talk Playspace!

Last Spring, Parent Talk had trial classes for children at our playspace, sponsored by LINX. According to our membership survey this summer, (more on that in a later post) those classes were very popular, so we are very happy to offer a full schedule of classes again starting in September! LINX provides their enthusiastic, well trained teachers and receives the benefit of new enrollment from the Parent Talk community. Our members get conveniently located classes at a discount and Parent Talk receives 10% of the fees paid!  
Beginning September 5th classes in the Playspace will include Monday and Friday mornings.  Mondays, Miss Carry starts off at 9:25am with Family Music Makers, a "mixed age family jam session" for ages 0-4. This is followed by Sports Safari at 10:35, where 18-23 month olds  will “run like jaguars, swing like monkeys and cheer like lions."

Friday is yoga day with Miss Ingrid which uses, Kidding Around Yoga™ (KAY), teaching yoga to children in a creative and playful way. During Family Yoga, at 9:45am parents and children ages 12 months to 4 years will explore yoga poses, breathing, meditation, respect and kindness while we “moo like cows, meow like cats, sail in boats, and so much more." Then at 10:45, 3 to 5 year olds will learn yoga while singing, dancing, laughing and storytelling. 

Classes can be tried on a monthly basis, or larger blocks with benefits.

Want to know more? Visit the Parent Talk page on the LINX site to learn more about the classes, schedules, program goals and prices.  It’s where you can register for classes as well.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ready for a FROZEN sing along?

"Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I'll be a .....Happy Snowman!"

Olaf couldn't have said it any better -- Parent Talk has made this a great summer as we present Olaf, Elsa, Anna and friends in Disney's ' FROZEN' on the big screen at Flicks on the Field on August 23rd!  Costumes are encouraged for our sing along version of the movie.

Flicks on the Field is a free annual event we have every summer -- it is an opportunity to have an enjoyable and memorable night out with the whole family.   Get your blankets, lawn chairs, and pack a dinner.  This is more than a town event -- it is open to anyone in towns near or far and we hope that people will spread the word and invite friends!

There will be entertainment from 6:30pm until 7:30 -- this includes a talented magician, crafts, music and games provided by our premier sponsor, LINX, and songs, photos, and a princess parade led by Elsa and Anna!  This is also a great way to spend the pre-bedtime hour in case your little ones cannot stay for the movie.

Across the street, Orange Leaf be serving our 'Frozen' treats and will give 20% of proceeds to Parent Talk.  Our beloved Needham 'Hot Dog Guy' will have his truck available for other snacks and refreshments.

We hope to see you all there on the 23rd, and hope you will join us in making 'Flicks' an annual family tradition!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to Connect Amazon Smile to Parent Talk

If you are an Amazon shopper, you may have noticed the new pop ups calling out their Amazon Smile program. This is an easy way to help support your favorite charity, at no cost to you. For every purchase you make while on the Amazon Smile site, a small percentage kicks back to the charity you designate. If you are so inclined to choose Parent Talk, we are now set up to accept the donations through Amazon Smile.

First steps, click on the pop up to set up your Amazon Smile. Search for Parent Talk and check to make sure it reflects our organization's details.

When shopping for Amazon, if you visit the main site, sometimes they will remind you to hop over to the Amazon Smile site. Then your qualified purchases will all counts towards the donation. One quick tip is to install an Amazon Smile bookmark, or extension, in your browser window. Then you can go directly to the site.

Thanks in advance for choosing Parent Talk. All the money raised helps bring in new lectures, pays for the Playspace and events for kids and parents in the coming year. 

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