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10 Tips to Saving Money while Sending Kids to School with Healthy Lunches

This glow-in-the-dark Kale smoothie is just one of the ideas listed in the top 10 ways to make healthy back-to-school lunches that save money tooHard to believe we are already talking back to school, but it’s just around the corner. Here’s an easy formula to remember. Good nutrition = Good grades. Okay, it’s not that simple but studies have shown that proper, wholesome nutrition improves focus, attention, cognitive function, even the ability of the brain to “cement” what it learns.

Lunch is a critical time of day. Lack of nutrients and too much sugar can cause your child to lose focus, become jittery and then, have the inevitable sugar crash. Conversely, a healthy lunch with minimal sugar and maximum nutrition from protein, fruits and veggies – including good fats from things like nuts and seeds – helps stabilize your child’s blood sugar levels and stoke the brain with fuel, allowing for sustained energy and focus. Protein is important because it takes our bodies longer to digest protein than it does carbohydrates, so the energy kids get from a protein-filled lunch will last much longer.

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EPA Resources Can Improve Your School’s Environment

School environments play an important role in the health and academic success of children. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) environmental education resources and programs can help establish, maintain or enhance a school environmental health program. 

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Camp Kingfisher's Grow Camp Succeeds in Teaching Life Lessons

Camp Kingfisher's Grow Camp Succeeds in Teaching Life LessonsFor the last month, campers large and small have been running excitedly around the Unity Garden, inquiring about the veggies, sticking their noses in fragrant herbs and flowers, and staring mesmerized at the chickens. The Grow Campers, consisting of rising 4th through 7th graders have spent one or two week sessions using the garden as a space to explore, create, discover, and tend to the plants. They have sampled veggies fresh off the vine, hunted for colorful insects around the garden (are they a "friend" or "foe"?) and even dug into some compost to discover the underground world beneath the surface.  

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5 Upcycling Crafts

Taking a vacation offers mixed feelings to many of us; while it is wonderful to get away from it all from time to time, leaving your home behind, even temporarily, can be difficult. You may feel like you're trading in some responsibility in return for less personal surroundings, but never underestimate your ability to really own your digs - even if you don't own them at all!

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Honey: One Food, Many Uses, No Rivals

Honey: One Food, Many Uses, No RivalsThere's been a lot of buzz lately about the benefits of honey – both raw and filtered. But, what exactly is honey? Where does it come from? Is it just hype or are there legitimate uses for nature's nectar?

A sweet history

Experts can't agree on exactly when honey was first intentionally cultivated by humans. What is known, however, is that the fossils of honeybees date back over 150 million years. Spanish cave paintings from 7000 BC depict the art of beekeeping and the ancient Egyptians left countless hieroglyphics behind indicating that honey was popular among royalty. The bee was often used to symbolize pharaohs and their court. The Greek goddess Artemis was personified as a honey bee.

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North Carolina State University’s Campus Life department, adding Cree SmartCast™ Technology to an ambitious energy-savings initiative

North Carolina State University’s Campus Life department, adding Cree SmartCast™ Technology to an ambitious energy-savings initiative

Lighting is a 24-7 operation for North Carolina State University’s Campus Life department. Between thousands of residence hall rooms and suites, common recreation areas for residents and computer labs open around the clock, finding ways to reduce energy consumption and operating costs are always top of mind. In its continued efforts to integrate energy-saving features into its student housing, the university once again turned to Cree for a solution.

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Clothing Recycler USAgain Offers Solutions for an Eco-Friendly Back-to-School

Clothing Recycler USAgain Offers Solutions for an Eco-Friendly Back-to-SchoolTips help parents and students reduce waste and save money

Clothing recycler USAgain (pronounced use-again) is offering four easy, eco-friendly tips this year to change the way parents and students approach back-to-school:  Recycle, Reuse, Shop Smart and Create a Plan.

With approximately 75 million students projected to attend school in the United States this year, there is a great deal of opportunity to reduce waste this back-to-school season.

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NIH Body Weight Planner Added to USDA SuperTracker Food and Activity Tool

Science-based technology provides users greater customizing to help reach and sustain a healthy weight

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have partnered to add the NIH Body Weight Planner to USDA's SuperTracker online tool as a goal-setting resource to help people achieve and stay at a healthy weight. Created in 2011, the SuperTracker tool empowers people to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. With science-based technology drawing on years of research, the Body Weight Planner will enable SuperTracker's more than 5.5 million registered users to tailor their plans to reach a goal weight during a specific timeframe, and maintain that weight afterward.

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USDA Proposes New Ways to Help Meet Nutrition Needs of Low-Income, Homebound Seniors and People with Disabilities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to improve access to groceries for homebound seniors and people with disabilities who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. USDA is proposing for the first time to permit grocery purchasing and delivery services run by government and non-profit organizations to accept SNAP benefits as payment, allowing for home delivery to those unable to shop for food. Vilsack will announce the proposal today during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. Nationally, only 42 percent of eligible elderly individuals participate in SNAP, compared to 83 percent for all people who are eligible.

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SNAP Benefit Redemptions through Farmers and Farmers Markets Show Sharp Increase

USDA official notes positive impact on individuals and communities when local farmers markets provide fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP participants

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are spending more of their benefits to make purchases at roadside farm stands, farmers markets and directly from local farmers than ever before. SNAP redemptions at those outlets in FY14 totaled $18.8 million, a nearly six-fold increase since 2008. Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon will laud the increase during a visit today to Philadelphia's Clark Park Farmers Market.

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