How to Keep Your Children’s School Lunches Healthy and Fun

By Paige Briggs, Mayo Clinic Dietetic Intern

July is quickly coming to a close and August is just around the corner. This can only mean one thing: Kids will be headed back to school soon. The start of a new school year and getting back into a routine go hand in hand. One of those routine tasks for your family may include packing lunches for your children to take to school. It can be a struggle to keep children from getting into a lunch rut of the same items over and over again while still keeping the meal healthy. Try these healthy and fun lunch ideas below to keep your child from getting into a lunch rut this school year.

  • Instead of a deli sandwich, offer a whole-wheat wrap that has been spread with taco hummus and topped with fresh veggies. Roll it and cut into smaller pieces.
  • Replace a child’s yogurt with plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and granola.
  • Apple slices with your child’s favorite nut butter are a great side option. Keep the apple slices from browning by wrapping the slices in a damp paper towel and placing them in a sealed container.
  • Thinly sliced sweet potatoes that had been baked at home can be just as tasty but much healthier than store-bought potato chips. Or if making chips at home seems daunting,pick up a bag of Beanitos. One serving contains 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
  • Substitute regular fruit snacks with Stretch Island fruit leathers. They are a great alternative with no added sugar.

Remember to consider food safety when packing lunches. If packing a lunch the night before, keep it in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure to have plenty of cold packs on hand for each child’s lunch. Cold packs will ensure that your child’s lunch stays cold and safe until it is time to eat. And, finally, make sure your child’s lunch box has good insulation to help ensure food remains safe throughout the day.

It can also be helpful to have your child participate in the lunch process. Whether they help pick out lunch items at the grocery store, decide what fruit to have, or help wash and prepare the lunch, it will help them feel included and more interested in the meal when it comes time to eat it. Lunch is an important part of your child’s day. It keeps them nourished and allows them to focus on learning throughout the day. Using these simple ideas can help your family avoid the lunch rut this year.

Hy-Vee Starbucks Employees Donate Tips to March of Dimes

Every month, our Starbucks employees inside the West Circle Drive Hy-Vee donate their tips to a local charity.

March of Dimes was selected as the charity of choice for the month of June. 

Tips collected throughout the month totaled $1,099.38

Paul Klinger, Board Chair for the Rochester chapter, graciously accepted the donation on behalf of March of Dimes on July 10, 2017.

The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Looking ahead to next month, July’s tips will be donated to Recovery is Happening.

(insert photo – Summary: Hy-Vee employees presented a donation of $1,099.38 to Paul Klinger, Board Chair for March of Dimes.)

Begin for Diabetes

by Sara Kelly RDN, LDN, CSG

People with diabetes face a specific set of health and nutrition challenges. Hy-Vee has recently launched a program to help meet the needs of this growing population. Begin for Diabetes is a 10-week comprehensive program that focuses on addressing the physical and mental challenges associated with diabetes.

Session topics include:

  • How to make smart choices when dining out.
  • How to count carbs and plan healthy meals.
  • Techniques to cope with the stress that can come with a diabetes diagnosis.
  • How to prevent complications and spot signs of hypo- and hyperglycemia.
  • To control portion size and keep food logs based on their dietary needs.

“About 29 million Americans have diabetes, and managing the disease can come with a significant learning curve,” said Kristin Williams, senior vice president and chief health officer at Hy-Vee. “Our registered dietitians are here to help educate and support program participants on their journey to making their lives healthier and happier.”

Sara Kelly, Registered Dietitian at West Circle Hy-Vee, recently spoke with KIMT Channel 3 about this new program.

To learn more about Begin for Diabetes, contact your local Hy-Vee dietitian.

Sara Kelly, RD, LD, CSG, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Science – Dietetics from Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. She completed her dietetic internship at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Bay Pines, Florida. Sara has worked in several areas of clinical nutrition, including three years as an inpatient clinical dietitian at a large hospital in South Georgia, and two years as a renal dietitian at a dialysis center.  She is a Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG). Sara is a registered, licensed dietitian and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is passionate about healthy eating and has a special interest in geriatrics as well as vegetarian/vegan nutrition. Sara spends most of her free time chasing after her infant son, Weston. Sara provides a variety of services including store tours, cooking classes, health screenings (biometrics) and individual consultations, as well as answering questions in the aisles. You may contact Sara by email at View all of Sara’s posts here.

Beat the Heat! Quick Tips on Staying Hydrated

by Zach Shivers, Dietetic Intern

Plain water is the best choice for hydrating yourself. Listening to your body cues is important. Be mindful to drink water when you are thirsty; if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. In order to combat this, carry around a refillable water bottle wherever you go and drink water frequently throughout the day.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Hunger
  • Headache
  • Skin tenting

If you are tired of just plain water, change it up by adding ice, fruit, mint or a flavoring agent such as Crystal Light. Most people need 8 to 10 cups of water per day, which is 64 ounces or 2 liters. Some water bottles include a tracker for how many times you have refilled them.

All fluids count toward your hydration goal. Other hydrating sources include iced tea, sparkling water, milk, 100% fruit juice, popsicles and gelatin. All fruits and vegetables contain water, which further helps to keep you hydrated, so eat lots of fruits and veggies!

One method of quickly assessing your hydration is to check the color of your urine; light yellow to clear means you are hydrated. If your urine is darker than light yellow, this means you should drink more water. Another method of assessing your hydration is to weigh yourself before and immediately after physical activity. A good rule of thumb is that for every pound you lose, drink at least 2 cups of water

Lastly, remember to keep your water on ICE – In-Sight, Convenient and Everywhere!

“Grill Your Way to Health” at Custom Alarm

Hy-Vee Dietitians Kaitlin Anderson and Kathy Hamlin provided an educational session entitled “Grill Your Way to Health” for Custom Alarm employees on Thursday, June 22.

Hy-Vee Manager of Perishables Bret Peterson cooked up some delicious samples on the grill, including Hy-Vee® True™ chicken breast, Honeysuckle White® turkey bratwurst, Short Cuts™ pre-cut veggies, as well as fresh pineapple and peaches.

For more information on grilling, including how-to videos, quick tips and tricks, recipe suggestions and frequently asked questions, check out Hy-Vee’s Guide to Grilling.

For more information about scheduling a nutrition presentation at your workplace, reach out to Kaitlin Anderson at

Photos courtesy of Custom Alarm’s Facebook page.