Friends in summer

Teachers, youth leaders and teams find HKC wellness approaches and action ideas effective and easy to use. They report that the HKC tools provide great new strategies for teaching core curriculum. One of the successful strategies is repetition of healthy habit messages using the Healthy6.

Six healthy eat, move and enjoy balance life step goals relate to eating and physical activity components identified by the Centers for Disease Control and National Health Education Standards. Hands-on lessons develop positive attitudes and practical skills for healthy choices.

The creation of a summertime journal, as discussed in this month’s newsletters and blogs, incorporates a number of hands-on lessons and personalizes learning. As kids work on the journal, they are helped to understand that healthy habits don’t just happen. They are the result of practicing…another way of saying it is “be the change you want to see” until it becomes a habit.

Goal setting and “challenges” to motivate and measure progress is one way to personalize learning. For example:

  • First, determine how many fruits and vegetables you are eating each day and how that compares to a healthy intake (see for recommendations). Then, create a fruits and vegetables goal towards a healthy intake. Such as, eat one more fruit or vegetable each day. Then set a “challenge” to achieve that goal every day for the next week. On a calendar, record the number of fruits and/or vegetables eaten each day. For each day the goal was reached, place a star on the calendar.
  • Use the same plan to set a goal and a “challenge” for more minutes of physical activity in the day.


You’re invited! Mark your calendars and sign up for an inspiring March 7th webinar, Making Healthy Eating a Habit… Anywhere Kids Live, Learn, Work and Play. This one hour webinar will be presented by Vickie L. James, Registered, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and the creator of the award winning Healthy Kids Challenge, now an integral part of School Specialty and SPARK programs. There is no cost.

Please join us to get some simple tips and ideas for integrating nutrition education into kids’ daily world. From classroom to PE, after school and community youth programs, you’ll find SPARK nutrition education resources your “go to” guide for healthy eating for kids!

Attendees will:

  • Understand the value and need for nutrition education for kids.
  • Discover simple ways to implement nutrition education into existing curriculum and youth programs.
  • Learn “edu-tainment” tips to make nutrition education fun for kids.
  • Discover how Healthy Kids Challenge nutrition education materials available through SPARK can be a valuable guide for your teaching needs.

Learn how you can be part of the healthy solution team for child nutrition!

Highlights include answers to questions like:

  • WHERE and HOW do I teach nutrition education?
  • Where can nutrition education find a home? How to deal with the time, tools and other issues.
  • Are you equipped? Understanding quick, simple ways to teach nutrition education in an integrated approach throughout the school day, or in youth programs.

When: Tuesday, March 7th, at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern *Note the special time at 5pm Pacific*

Who: Grades K-8 classroom teachers and administrators, PE specialists, health and science teachers, school food service managers, school wellness council members and after school, summer camp, and youth program teachers and staff.

Duration: 60 Minutes

Cost: Free

Sign up:

Make it Personal

August 22, 2016


Commitment is an ingredient in the recipe for success. When school wellness team members have a personal interest in wellness, they are much more likely to promote healthy behaviors and participate in creating healthier environments.

School wellness team members have the power to change misconceptions about what a healthy eating means. For too long, many have viewed good nutrition as a “diet” when in fact all foods can fit with balance. Team members become role models and ambassadors for healthy change. MyPlate, Let’s Move, USDA Team Nutrition and Healthy Kids Challenge Balance My Day Curriculum are resources that demonstrate how “all foods can fit” with moderation, variety and healthy balance.

School Wellness Success

August 10, 2016

Gym Class

As outlined by CDC, there are many benefits to school wellness! However, sometimes the benefits get lost in misunderstanding and interpretations! Communication is a key to getting everyone on board for successful change. Develop simple consistent messages of the links between physical activity, healthy eating, health and academic success. Healthy kids feel and learn better!

Identify opportunities for community partners to express their support. Not only will community partners add credibility to the changes proposed, they can also enhance communication through their networks.

Seek ways for families to participate in decision making and express their concerns. Develop trust through two way conversations. For example, at parent-teacher conferences share (on a bulletin board, or provide as a handout) a healthy snacks list and invite feedback.

Go ahead and Take Healthy Action by teaching Breakfast GO Power messaging with multiple ideas and activities to drive the message home!

Create Awareness

  • Have kids create a list of favorite healthy breakfast foods. Challenge them to make breakfast a daily habit! Use the Explore MyPlate Teaching Cards to jump start their lists and teach about breakfast foods in the different food groups.

  • Promote breakfast as a good way to start every day, not just during testing days! Have kids find facts online supporting breakfast every day, make a poster, and line the hallways with their promotions.

  • Our Wednesday WOWS newsletter has ideas every week!

Build Skills in the Classroom

Change the Environment

  • Try out “grab-and-go” breakfast at school. Create appeal by marketing with signs everywhere. Have classes draw “Breakfast GO Power” messages; also present “Breakfast GO Power” commercials to another class.

Cook-up Cafeteria Excitement

  • Invite local celebrities to school breakfast, and as a bonus have a student reporter or class cover the event as a “media” story.

  • Create a plan with PTA to host a “Serving up MyPlate” breakfast as a way to give everyone a boost during testing weeks. For example, blend up smoothies and combine with a “build a breakfast trail mix” using whole grain cereal, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and nuts.

Connect with Families


Moving into the holiday season, take a look at “where you are” with your own healthy behaviors. Choose this time to reassess and set goals for healthy eating and physical activity.

Blog photo

Use the Cigna-HKC Mix Six for Healthy Balance Toolkit that focuses on 6 key healthy behaviors to guide you. Click on the Getting Started tab of the digital magazine for the introduction.

Next, click on the right arrow to get to the Personal Healthy Habit Inventory and take time to complete it.

Move on to My Healthy Habit Goals page and think about the goals you would like to achieve from the 6 key healthy behaviors listed.

Use the rest of the toolkit to focus on specific behaviors. Each section provides simple tips and ideas for individuals and families working toward a healthier lifestyle.

Science experiments using food are a great way to catch the attention of middle school students, which can then be focused Explore MyPlate cover 110810Fon healthy eating habits. Give it a try with our fun activity below!

Hear – See – Do Activity

Adapted from the Static Electricity with Cereal experiment, Explore MyPlate with School Nutrition booklet

“Puffed rice jump and float from a table top to a plexiglass plate.”

What you need:

  • hand full of puffed rice cereal
  • a square plate of plexiglass, approximately 12 in. by 12 in.
    wooden blocks to balance the plate 1-3 inches above the table (table should be non-metallic)
  • wool sweater


  • Place the puffed rice on the table surface.
  • Place the wooden blocks on the table and balance the plexiglass plate over the table and the pile of puffed rice.
  • Vigorously rub the top of the plexiglass with the wool sweater.
  • The puffed rice should start to stand on end, then “jump” from the table surface to the plexiglass and back again.

Explanation: The effect is caused by the buildup of static charge. Rubbing the wool sweater on the plexiglass generates a net negative charge on the plate surface. This net negative charge has the effect of polarizing the puffed rice on the table below, so positive charges accumulate on points closest to the negatively charged plate. Unlike charges attract and when the difference in charge has become great enough, the puffed rice is drawn to the bottom of the plate. When the rice contacts the plate the charges dissipate and it falls back to the table.

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