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Cauliflower Popcorn Recipe

School snacks don't have to be pre-packaged – or unhealthy! Score a yummy good-for-them lunchbox treat, and a few extra tips.

The back-to-school rush often means shipping your little student off with something quick and pre-packaged. But tossing lunch together for your kids doesn't have to be an unhealthy affair – or, conversely, drawn out.

Add a little flavoring to a classic veggie and, voila: You've got this delicious recipe for cauliflower popcorn! Sink your teeth into this great-for-them treat. And toss in a side of these food tips, courtesy of The Veggiecation Program, a nutrition education program that introduces young kids to "the wonderfully delicious and nutritious world of vegetables":

1. Eat lunch at your child's school.

Seriously! This way, you can see what's really being served in the cafeteria. Also, try to go several occasions to get the big picture of what the school's nutrition philosophy is. If you don't like what you see, talk to the school's superintendent and find out how you can work with the school to make changes in the food selection. Attend board meetings and share your observations and suggestions for healthy menu changes.

2. Pack a healthy lunch.

If you're not satisfied with what's being served for lunch in the cafeteria, pack your kids a healthy lunch, and discuss with your kids why their packed lunch is better for them. Get your kids involved by having them research some healthy lunch choices and encourage them to share their ideas with their friends and teachers. Also, to get your kids excited about their healthy lunch, have them select what fruits and vegetables will go into their lunch, and make a weekly lunch menu together.

3. Join (or start!) a wellness committee.

Become active on your school's wellness committee. Learn what obstacles, such as lack of equipment and funding, your school cafeteria is facing and brainstorm how to overcome them. (i.e., a PTA fundraiser to buy the kitchen a steamer, perhaps?).

4. It's the little things.

Advocate for small changes, like eliminating flavored milk and other
sweetened beverages from the cafeteria.

5. Advocate education.

Encourage the school to incorporate nutrition education into the curriculum.

6. Investigate and advocate.

Find out what programs are available to cost-effectively bring healthy food choices to your kid's school and how the school can get involved, such as Farm to School or Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Join the PTA and/or your school's wellness committee to get fellow parents involved in bringing these initiatives to your children's school.

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