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Back to School: Meals that Support

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This blog post was written by Jacquie Donohue, a UMN-TEP dietetic intern.

As a teenager, I thought lunch was about laughing with my friends and taking a break from school. I really didn't know how important the food in my lunch was for my body and how it could help me do well in school. Had I known this, I may have made smarter choices when it came to what I packed or which hot lunch line I chose. This information from can help you be sure your children are starting their school year off right.

It's Your Turn: Be a Good Role Model for Eating and Activity

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Whether you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor or teacher, you can be a role model for eating good foods and being active. Children of all ages see what adults are doing and it does make a difference in what they choose. Here are some tips from on how to be a positive role model for eating good foods and being active.

  • Show by example. Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains with meals or as snacks. Tell children how much you like to eat these foods. Limit your intake of less healthy foods. 
  • Try new foods yourself. Describe its taste, texture, and smell. Offer one new food at a time. Serve something your child likes along with the new food. Offer new foods at the beginning of a meal, when your child is very hungry. Avoid lecturing or forcing your child to eat. Let children see you try new foods. Better yet, find a new food at the grocery store and have the whole family try it!

Metro Food Access Network Success!

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The Metro Food Access Network (MFAN) has been hard at work!
ThriveMSP 2040 cover

Met Council's Thrive MSP 2040 sets one vision for the metropolitan region.

ThriveMSP 2040 was created by the Metropolitan Council and is the vision for the 7-county metro region over the next 30 years. It reflects the Met Council's concerns and aspirations, anticipates future needs in the region, and addresses our responsibility to future generations.

The initial ThriveMSP 2040 document had only one paragraph related to food access.

Cooking: A Fun Way to Keep Children Reading this Summer!

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MP900448564[1].jpgHard to believe, but summer vacation from school is almost half over. It's important that children keep reading and doing math during the summer so they do not forget what they learned in school. Cooking with children is a fun way for children to practice reading and math. Give these a try.


  • Letter recognition: Have children look at the foods in the cupboard and find a food that starts with a certain letter. For example, show children three varieties of soup and have them find one that starts with a "t" (like tomato soup).
  • Counting: Children can count the number of cups of flour that go into a pancake batter or count the number of times they stir something.

Shopping on a Budget at Farmers Markets

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Farmers markets are popping up everywhere, and for good reason! It's fun to buy local produce in a festive market on a bright sunny day.

2 adults looking at produce

Talk with farmers and fellow shoppers for more tips.

But what if you're on a budget? Here are some money saving tips to take along with you to the market.

  • Avoid going to the market on an empty stomach. You're less likely to buy more than you bargained for!
  • Bring along a 'flexible' shopping list that gives you an idea of what you need and leaves room for what's available. "Fruit for five meals" leaves it open to whatever fruit is a bargain this week.

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