Lunch Ideas for Healthy Kids

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month so today we wanted to address the other component involved in fighting childhood obesity – healthy eating! (In case you missed our blog on incorporating more exercise into your children’s lives, find it here.) If you’ve ever gotten in the rut of only sending peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with your kids everyday for lunch, then you’ve come to the right place! Below are five fun and healthy sandwich alternatives that you can pack in a lunch or just eat at home:

Berry Smoothie (recipe adapted from here

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1/2 banana

1/2 cup juice

1 handful of spinach

Combine in a blender and serve in a tightly-sealed thermos if you’re packing in a lunch.

Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich (recipe adapted from here

1 Tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese

¼ teaspoon honey

2 slices thin whole-what sandwich bread

2 medium strawberries, sliced

Combine cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Spread bread with the cheese mixture. Place sliced strawberries on 1 piece of bread, top with the other.

Pizza Roll Ups (recipe adapted from here

1 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla

2 Tablespoons pizza sauce

12 leaves baby spinach

3 Tablespoon shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Spread pizza sauce over the tortilla. Top with the spinach and sprinkle cheese on top. Microwave until the cheese is just melted, usually 45 seconds. Roll the tortilla up and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces.

Pumpkin Muffins (recipe adapted from here

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together whole wheat flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center and add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce and oil. Mix until the dry ingredients are combined. Fill muffin tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool in the pan and then remove.

Healthy Mac & Cheese (recipe adapted from here

2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni

1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

¾ cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

⅔ cup shredded cheese

Cook the macaroni and drain. Remove the skin and the seeds from the squash and cut the flesh into small cubes. Bring the broth to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup broth, and transfer squash to the blender. Add the milk, salt, and reserved broth and puree until completely smooth and creamy. This should make about 4 cups of sauce. Pour the pureed sauce over the cooked noodles and add the shredded cheese. Stir to melt the cheese; add water or milk to adjust consistency as needed.

What’s your favorite healthy lunch idea for your kids?

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for 15 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

Keeping kids fit with Happy Backyards!

Monkey Climber

Monkey Climber

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month! Did you know that one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese? Unfortunately, this puts kids at risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease as well as other issues that typically don’t occur until adulthood. Thankfully obesity, as well as the diseases mentioned above, can be prevented. In addition to healthy eating, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that children get 60 minutes per day of moderate exercise.

The majority of kids’ exercise should be aerobic, meaning to get their heart rate up to improve their cardiovascular system. This includes things like walking and running. At least three days a week should also include muscle strengthening exercises such as gymnastics or push ups, and three days a week should include bone-strengthening exercises like jumping rope and running – anything that gets their feet off the ground.

If you’re an active family already, you may feel that getting 60 minutes a day of exercise is easy, but for families where this isn’t a habit, this number may feel overwhelming. Where do you even start? We at Happy Backyards want to give you some tips for keeping your kids fit and active in your own backyard:

– Be positive and encouraging. Being negative about exercise yourself will only pass down to your children and give them a negative attitude as well. In order to combat that, make exercise seem not like exercise! Join them in the backyard to do things like hula hooping, dancing, jumping rope, throwing balls or flying kites.

– Provide play equipment. Give kids the ability to exercise without them needing to be involved in organized sports or even in organized games. A playset or a trampoline in your backyard provides them with an easy way to exercise and get their heart rate up without them even noticing they’re exercising. Monkey bars strengthen muscles, pumping their legs on the swings can increase their heart rate and even something as simple as climbing a ladder can increase their muscle tone and flexibility.

– Make it fun to create life-long habits. Providing equipment like a basketball goal can be a great thing to get the entire family involved in exercise. An after-dinner game of basketball together will not only give immediate exercise benefits but will begin to build the foundation for habits that can last a lifetime for your kids.

So what are you waiting on? Get moving! And stop by Happy Backyards in Franklin to learn more about our playsets, basketball hoops and trampolines and how they can help your kids!

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for 15 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

ONE DAY SALE – Saturday, September 20th

swing set saleCome join us at Happy Backyard’s ONE DAY SALE this Saturday, September 20th! A sale this big doesn’t happen often as we’re offering up to 40% off (or more on some 2014 clearance models)! If you’re looking for basketball goals, trampolines or swing sets, we’ve got some amazing deals for you!

 

Swing Sets

Get $99 installation on all swing sets purchased on Saturday!

Smaller yards and small budgets love the Happy Backyards brand of playsets. They offer great value, great flexibility and high quality as they’re made of 100% natural Premium Cedar.

Happy Lodge – Reg. $3699 / Sale $1999

Happy Lodge

Happy Lodge

Happy Fort – Reg. $2699 / Sale $1799

Happy Fort

Happy Fort

Happy Gym Deluxe – Reg. $3849 / Sale $2399

Happy Gym Deluxe

Happy Gym Deluxe

Woodplay swing sets have been the industry leader in quality, safety and fun since 1975 and they’re constructed of top quality California Redwood.

Outback 5’ Combo 2 – Reg. $6000 / Sale $3999 (Features a rock wall with rope, rope ladder, swings, rope swing, tire swing, platform, wave slide and more!)

Outback 5'

Outback 5′

Mega Set 71H – Reg. $16,849 / Sale $8999 (Mega Sets allow you to connect two playsets via the Burma Bridge or Crawl Tunnel. This combo includes a climbing wall, two large slides, rope ladder, tire swing, picnic table, swings, two platforms and more!)

Mega Set

Mega Set

TRAMPOLINES

Receive a FREE Basketball hoop accessory on all AlleyOop Trampoline purchases!

AlleyOop Trampolines employ their patented Triple-Fail-Safe backup system for added safety. We offer 6 models plus numerous add-ons including ladders, outback camping tent and weather cover.

AlleyOop Trampoline

AlleyOop Trampoline

BASKETBALL HOOPS

Get FREE installation, Pole Pad, Edge Pad & Rim Upgrade on all ProView Goals!

PROformance Hoops are designed with top performance and durability in mind. They feature steel poles, glass backboards, spring reflex rims and a hydraulic lift for height adjustment. They’re built to last and will be an awesome addition to your game no matter your skill level!

Pro View 560 – Sale $2099

660

560

Pro View 554 – Sale $1899

554

554

Stop by Saturday to see all of these amazing deals and more!

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for 15 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing. 

After School Activities for a Happy Backyard

after school activities

Picnic Table

We know that the time between when your kids get off the bus after school and dinnertime can often be less than a happy time for both mom and kids. The kids are restless after a long day at school and you’re trying to finish up dinner and get it on the table. So here are some fun after school activities you can plan for your kids so that your backyard can be a happy backyard! These fun activities require little prep work and few supplies – exactly what you need for late afternoons! (Plus, these activities can be enjoyed by any number of kids!)

Trampoline Sequence

To play, perform one trampoline trick one time, then perform the next trampoline trick two times and the next one three times. The sequence continues, with no breaks, until you can do the final trick ten times. When you’ve reached ten, go backwards, performing the same tricks in sequence until you’ve reached one again. If you’re playing with more than one person, take turns doing your own 1 to 10 sequences or work together, alternating numbers until you reach 10. If you want to add competition, the person who can go the longest without making a mistake wins!

“Hold On” Obstacle Course

Create an obstacle course, either by just using your playset or by setting out other obstacles in the yard like hula hoops, cones and other sporting equipment. Do one timed run without holding anything and then for subsequent races, add complicated items to hold. For example, you might have to do the race holding a heavy barbell, pillow or broomstick. Time each run and write them down if you want to declare a winner.

Baskets in a Row

Mark various locations around the basketball goal – with chalk or cones – and each player gets a chance to make as many baskets in a row as they can without missing. When playing by yourself, when you miss, move to a new spot and start counting again. If you’re playing with a friend, when you miss, the next player gets a chance to shoot his baskets all in a row.

Blindfolded Chalk Murals

Provide a list of topics to create sidewalk chalk murals. For example, sports might be a topic, but the trick is that you have to do it blindfolded! Even doing this by yourself will create a chuckle as you take off your blindfold to check your work. But if you’re playing it with a friend, ask a third-party party judge to award a price to the winner!

Do you have a favorite easy afternoon activity that makes your backyard a happy place to be?

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for 15 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing.

Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

49d6f1265571e_466x500School has started and with it comes school lunches! If you’re looking for ideas of how to pack a healthy lunch box for your kids, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at some ideas for packing a healthy lunch:

Think outside the traditional sandwich. Use whole-wheat waffles or pancakes instead of white sandwich bread. Put almond butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey on whole-wheat tortillas, pitas or even apple slices. Or ditch the sandwich entirely and serve whole-wheat muffins, hummus and pretzel chips, pesto on tomato and mozzarella, or egg salad.

Get creative in adding fruits and vegetables. On days when time is short, you can always just add grapes, bananas, apples or orange slices, but a little preparation can make things more creative. Offer dehydrated fruits and vegetables or provide fruit to go on top of yogurt.

Provide a spoon. Yogurt with homemade granola, honey and dried fruits or homemade purees like applesauce with blueberries or even yogurt with pureed fruits can be nutritious sources of energy for your child and fun to eat, too! Soups in a thermos are also a great way to pack in nutrition.

Make it fun. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of sandwiches or cheese. Make faces out of fruits and vegetables or spell out words with seeds and fruits. Add fruit to skewers or just add fun little notes to their lunch box.

Pack snacks. Foods typically considered snack foods – cheese, nuts, fruits, vegetables, hummus – can all make up a nutritious meal. Make a trail mix with various nuts and seeds and add dried fruits like raisins and cranberries.

Think drinks. Create yogurt smoothies, including kale or greens along with pineapple, berries, flax seed, and more. Freeze into popsicle molds or ice cubes and put in bottles to thaw before lunchtime or in a thermos if still in pureed form.

Make your own meals.  Make your own “lunchables” using whole wheat crackers, lunch meats and slices of cheese, or include small pieces of pita, along with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese for make-your-own pizzas.

And one last note: a bento-style lunchbox makes it easy to pack lunches and is better for the environment than using plastic bags. Small compartments are easy to pack in and can accommodate multiple items in one easy-to-open container for your child.

What are your favorite healthy lunch ideas? What are your kids favorite healthy lunch ideas?

Happy Backyards sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for 15 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing.