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Learn how to power pack school lunches

The new school year has begun! The school halls seem to reverberate with optimism and the students' good intentions to study hard and do their best each day. Teachers are focused on supporting the students in a variety of ways and parents do their part by ensuring the kids arrive at school rested, fed and ready to learn.

My new friend, Tobi Page, hopes you won't let your good intentions stop there. A registered dietician, she wants you to know how to powerpack lunches to sustain your students throughout the school day.

Tobi has three children; Ama is a fourth grader at Oak Creek Elementary and Kyren and Jane are seventh graders at Lake Oswego Junior High. Their dad, Drew Bender, packs their lunches and likes to give the children something different everyday. He turns to Tobi for suggestions.

Our tendency as lunch packers is to pack what will make kids happy and what is easy to grab. This usually translates into junkfood like chips, processed foods like cookies, fruit snacks and sugary drinks. Tobi reminds parents that there are options.

'Kids will eat carrots and hummus,' she said. 'And you can pack a bean burrito.'

In fact, her children prefer eating burritos to sandwiches and love finding soup or interesting salads or wraps in their lunches.

In addition to her job as a mom of three, Tobi works full time as an educator with the Oregon State Extension Service and runs a private practice, Lifestyle Nutrition. She still finds time to offer a class to parents who wish to learn more about nutritious foods.

'This class is for parents who pack lunches for school and want to learn more about nutrition,' she said. She will talk about nutritional needs for different age groups of children, the new federal nutritional recommendations and food safety. The classes will be meet at a local grocery store, so that class participants can actually compare options available on the grocery shelf. Learning how to read labels, portion size and other food related issues will be addressed.

The first class is scheduled for Sept. 21 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $25 and enrollment is limited as Tobi wants to be able to answer any and all questions participants may have during the tour.

'I am here to help you figure out the 'how,'' she said. 'Most people have a good idea of what they should be doing. How can we make healthy eating a lifestyle for you?'

Tobi's registered dietary practice, Lifestyle Nutrition, is located inside Encompass Wellness at 4309 Oakridge Road in Lake Oswego. To sign up for the class Sept. 21 or subsequent classes call Tobi at 503-635-4656 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tobi shared this recipe for Healthy Carrot Cake Cookies, which she says is a standard at OSU Extension Office potlucks. Try them this weekend!

Bon Appetit! Eat something healthy!

Healthy Carrot Cake Cookies

This recipe contains whole grains. Making half of your grains whole may help protect you against many chronic diseases.

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

½ cup sugar

½ cup oil

½ cup applesauce or fruit puree

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 ½ cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)

1 cup raisins or golden raisins.

Heat oven to 350º F.

Mix sugars, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla thoroughly.

Stir dry ingredients together.

Blend dry ingredients into wet mixture. Stir in raisins and carrots.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Store in airtight container.

Oregon State Extension Service

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My friends at SuDan Farm in Canby are taking orders for their premium turkeys and geese for your holiday feasts. Turkeys are available in size from 10 to 20+ pounds for $3.75 per pound plus a $10 processing fee. They will be ready for pickup the weekend before Thanksgiving. Their Embden geese usually dress out in the nine to 12 pound range and will be ready for pickup in early December. Cost is $6.75 per pound with a $10 processing fee.

You can order your turkey or goose by calling Dan or Sue at 503-651-5262 or online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can also order at their booths at either Portland State University's Farmers' Market on Saturdays or Milwaukie Farmers' Market on Sundays through October. Order now and be assured your bird will be lovingly tended until ready for your feast.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext 101 or by email at brandall@lakeoswe

goreview.com .