Healthy Kids Challenge Supports Let’s Move: How Cities and Towns Can Make Healthy Food Affordable and Accessible
April 25, 2013
This is the final challege for April: Make healthy food easier to access in your community. That’s a tall order, but not impossible. We know because we work with communities every day to meet this challenge of making the healhty choice, the easy choice. It takes time, commitment, a plan, and support, to say the least. But don’t take our word for it, read on to see why we fully support Let’s Move!…
“More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. These communities are known as “food deserts” since they lack access to affordable, nutritious food. Lack of access is one reason why many children are not eating recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Food insecurity and hunger among children is widespread. A recent USDA report showed that in 2008, an estimated 49 million people, including 17 million children, lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. Let’s Move! to ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.
In our effort to fight obesity in children and adolescents, it is important that we focus on increasing access to healthy and affordable foods. Here are some ways that cities and towns can play an important role in providing access to affordable and healthy food options through activities such as the following:
- Establish a Food Policy Council
- Increase enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Support the sale of local foods across the community by offering incentives and encouraging the establishment of farmers’ markets.
- Promote policies that support and protect community gardens.
- Pass food policies that require food and beverages purchased with government funds to meet certain nutrition standards.
- Require access to free and safe drinking water in public places.
- Ensure that residents can access healthy andd affordable food through public transportation—by realigning bus routes, providing free shuttles, or other means.”*
(*Let’s Move!, Make Healthy Food Affordable and Accessible page.)
So to help you along the path of creating a healthier community, here are some more resources:
April 18, 2013
The Challenge: Make it easier for your family to choose healthy foods – at home, eating out, wherever! Building on the ideas from this week’s WOWS newsletter, here are some simple ways to make it happen:
- Keep grab ‘n go breakfast ideas in reach, like string cheese, whole grain crackers and an apple.
- Try a new fruit or veggie, like jicama or starfruit, as a family.
- Flavor ice cold water with lemon, lime, or orange slices to give it a zing when choosing it as a mealtime beverage instead of sugary drinks.
Also, I want to point out that Let’s Move Healthy Families is a great resource, aligned with our principles, providing ideas like:
- Mix vegetables into dishes, like adding peas to rice, or cucumbers to a sandwich
- Choose lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken or extra lean ground beef for hamburgers or pasta sauces
- Have kids drink water at snack time
- Kids are smaller than adults and should eat smaller portions
There are so many ways you can meet this family challenge, but you must first CHOOSE to take action. Today’s a great day to start!
April 11, 2013
Honoring our special April Healthy Foods Challenges, we have 3 freebies to help you meet those challenges this month. Enjoy!
Snack Attack Activity
1. Ask kids to name benefits of snacks containing less fat and less added sugar.
- Help us feel good and feel good about ourselves
- A healthier body weight
- A healthier heart
- Gives more nutrients to do our best in school
2. Discuss why we make the choices we do. Is it because the snacks:
- Taste good?
- Are easy to fix?
- Satisfy hunger or give energy?
- Are what their parents or someone else buys or fixes?
- Are the coolest ones to eat?
TWO Snack Attack Printables!
When on the go, bring along energizing snacks! Whether traveling, camping, or transporting kids to activities, the following ideas are sure to help you satisfy those hunger attacks in a hectic day.
Make the next happy celebration a healthy one too! These snack ideas and activities can be as popular as the traditional high fat and sugar party foods!
March 14, 2013
One of the best strategies to teach kids healthy habits is to be a healthy role model yourself. After all, actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes to kids!
So, here are some role modeling tips, based on our Healthy6 key messages that will get you and your kids on the path toward healthy habits for life. And the theme for National Nutrition Month this year is also, Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day; a convenient tie-in to these tips today!
- Fruits and Veggies Every Day. Eat YOUR Veggies! …and your fruits. When kids see you eating them, they’ll be more likely to try them, and like them too.
- Make Smart Serving Size Choices. Serve yourself appropriate portion sizes, and don’t overeat. Also, talk to kids about your own feelings of hunger and fullness to help them learn portion control, too.
- Do Your Own Drink Think. Make ice cold water or skim milk your drink of choice at every meal, and your kids will come to expect it as the norm, not the exception.
- Attack Everyone’s Snacks. Build healthy snacks into your own routine, and sit down and eat them with kids whenever possible.
- Active Play, Balance Everyone’s Day! Get out there and move around with the kids, whether it’s an organized sport, or just free play. Find your own fitness routine and let the kids see you making it a priority every day.
- Build Breakfast into Your Day. When kids see you enjoying breakfast every day, they are more likely to join in and start their day that way too.
What are you doing to Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day throughout the month of March?
If kids aren’t getting at least half their plate of fruits and veggies, what can be done to meet the challenge? The first step is to THINK ABOUT IT. Nothing changes until someone gets used to thinking about how to eat more fruits and veggies.
- Gather students and discuss the following solutions to eating more fruits & veggies. Allow kids to brainstorm ideas that will work for them.
- Make fruits & veggies more available. To see more solutions, and specific actions to take, go to our Monthly Action Idea page and click on March Action Idea.
- Activity Idea: How many colors can you get into a salsa?
- Either write the following recipe ingredients on a board and discuss them or try out the recipe!
- Identify the fruit and veggie colors represented in the salsa.
- Send the recipe home and encourage kids and their families to try it.
Cranberry Salsa Recipe
4 oz. 100% cranberry juice
1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh sliced cranberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
2 garlic cloves
optional: black pepper
Baked chips for dipping
- Place juice into a saucepan. Boil about 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Dice or slice the fruits & veggies, then place in a large mixing bowl.
- Crush the garlic cloves, measure 1 tsp. and place in the mixing bowl. Add a dash of pepper, if desired.
- Pour the syrup over the mixing bowl contents and stir thoroughly.
- Serve with baked chips.
Download: Fruits and Veggies – Variety Adds Appeal
It’s important to eat more fruits and veggies. It’s so easy to fall into the rut of choosing the same ones and growing tired of them. Add some interest and appeal to your produce choices by trying the following ideas.
- Toss a Salad. Either fruit or veggie salads can provide a variety of tastes, colors, healthy fiber and antioxidants.
- Click on the link to find all the tips on the download link.
*This lesson is found on page 69 of the Balance My Day™ nutrition curriculum, Grades 6-8. For more like this, check out HKC resources in our Online Store; be sure to check out the Table of Contents and sample pages.
Applying for a 2013 PEP Grant? These lessons and tips are perfect for helping you meet the nutrition education needs for increasing kids’ fruit and vegetable intake. See our PEP Grant Help page for more info.
February 14, 2013
Try a Frozen Yogurt Fruit Cup for an easy snack recipe during March this year, and join us in celebrating National Nutrition Month 2013!
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Cup
8 ounces plain low-fat yogurt
4 ounces frozen berries, thawed with juice
4 ounces crushed pineapple canned in natural juice, with juice
- Line 6 muffin-tin cups with paper baking cups.
- Dice or mash banana and place in a mixing bowl.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Spoon into muffin cups and freeze at least 3 hours or until firm.
- Before serving, remove paper cups and let stand 10 minutes.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
68 calories 0.6 g fat 0.3 g saturated fat
2.5 mg cholesterol 32.2 mg sodium 2.5 g carbohydrate
14 g dietary fiber 2.8 g protein
Recipe provided courtesy of Eat Right Press, from Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens by Jodie Shield, MEd, RD and Mary Catherine Mullen, MS, RD. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ©2012.
You can find more recipes for National Nutrition Month in the Recipe Handouts section of the web site.
Need more easy snack recipes? Check out these resources!
February 8, 2013
Choose Smart Servings! Sometimes it is not WHAT you eat, but HOW MUCH. Added fat and sugar content are clues to serving size.
Label Smart Activity
Kids learn serving sizes, practice measures, math & physical movement skills, and set a goal
- As a group, look at a Nutrition Facts label and locate the serving size information.
- As a whole group, or in teams, ask kids, without looking at the labels, to guess:
- The serving sizes for each food.
- The number of servings in a package.
- After each guess, have one or more kids read the package to see if they guessed correctly.
For the complete directions on this February activity, click here. This activity is also found on page 9 of the Health Works! toolkit – Smart Servings booklet. For more activity ideas like the one above, check out the Healthy Kids Challenge Online Store.
Download this FREE printable and copy-ready tip sheet for sharing with parents and staff. Ideas include the following:
- Purchase individual low-fat cottage cheese containers with fresh fruit to go along.
- Buy a bag of plain, flavored or peanut butter filled pretzels and include low-fat milk containers.
January 31, 2013
Give kids an opportunity to advocate to others about how healthy eating enhances health and wellness.
Accessibility and Feasibility Project with Local Foods
- Have the kids research the availability of locally grown produce and feasibility of including it in the school meal program.
- Use research results to help determine if locally grown produce is realistic for your school meal program.
- Work with the kids to create a policy for use of locally grown foods to present to the school administration and school board.
- Conduct a taste test with kids and staff of the most feasible locally grown produce items that might be included in the cafeteria menus.
- If local produce items are added to the menus, market and name them on the menu to reflect the change.
January 17, 2013
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 8, or 32 (1/4 cup serving) tasting samples
1 cup non-fat, bottled raspberry vinaigrette
8 small apples, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped almonds
8 cups bagged, pre-cut mixed greens
- In advance, rinse and drain the apples and mixed greens.
- In a large salad bowl, add the ingredients and toss gently.
- Serve ¼ cup tasting samples on each small dessert plates with a fork.
- Have kids clean up work area and utensils with warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water.
Per full-size serving (1 ¾ cups): 221 calories, 5 g pro., 6 g fat, 24% calories from fat
Recipe source: (Modified) Education.com-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 6/11.
Taste and Learn Activity for Middle School Students
Materials: MyPlate Poster
- Fill half of a standard size meal plate with salad and explain it represents the fruits and vegetables on the MyPlate poster.
- Discuss how eating that amount at meals helps kids get their suggested daily servings of fiber.
- Ask kids to think of the fruits/veggies they ate yesterday.
- Did the amount they ate fill half a plate? Have them draw a representation of their plate.
- Ask kids to create a menu using the recipe and the other MyPlate food groups (Grains, Protein, and Dairy).
- Have them create a grocery list for their menu.
*This Taste and Learn Activity is from the Explore MyPlate with School Nutrition book, for grades 6-8, page 123.
January 10, 2013
Whether your school is participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge or not, chances are the kids are being introduced to many more fruits and veggies and whole grain servings than they have been used to in the past. So what’s the trick to getting them to EAT those healthy choices? After all, it’s not nutrition unless they eat it…
- Set up the cafeteria for success. Success in helping them choose the healthier options that is. Have you heard of the Lunch Line Redesign? Or Smarter Lunchrooms Movement? Check them out for ideas.
- Spark interest with color. A rainbow of colors make any meal more appealing, and especially for kids. But don’t stop with the menu options. Add color to the walls using posters and bulletin boards, even repainting the cafeteria to make it more inviting.
- Rename the fruits and vegetables. Cooked carrots. Steamed broccoli. Sound appealing? Giving them descriptive names has been shown to help kids get interested in taking them AND eating them! You don’t even have to change how you prep them, just change the name. Examples include: “X-ray vision carrots”, and “Tiny Tasty Tree Tops.”
- Ask the kids for input! When you ask their opinion on healthy options, it gives them ownership in the changes, and they are more likely to eat what they helped create. Start a youth advisory council if you haven’t already, or create a simple contest for naming the cafeteria or a holiday menu. Taste tests are a proven winner!
- Promote, promote, promote. Think like a marketing expert. “Advertise” your healthy options on bright bulletin boards, or with new, colorful name cards. Change the placement of the veggies and fruit on the lunch line so they are offered first rather than last. Switch out stainless steel bowls for colorful options; even stacking a bowl of fruit on top of an upside down bowl gives visual appeal.
Specific action ideas that go along with these suggestions can be found in Explore MyPlate with School Nutrition™, a Healthy Kids Challenge resource. Action ideas are designed to increase interest in healthy eating and help meet the HealthierUS School Challenge criteria. Content includes MyPlate, trivia, bulletin boards, food science experiments to link with curriculum standards, menu planning tips, and fun ideas for youth advisory councils.