American Heart Month

February 6, 2017


February is American Heart Month. The HKC Newsletter, WOWS, has been recognizing the significance of the month by connecting awareness building ideas with mini lessons to build habits for healthy hearts. HKC’s Healthy6 are the cornerstone for both our comprehensive nutrition education, Balance My Day, and the mini lesson suggestions found here.

Snack Attack “Mini Lesson”

  • Talking Points:

According to the American Heart Association, choosing less added sugar helps keep a heart healthy. Many of us are choosing much more added sugar than recommended. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identify Food Category Sources of Added Sugars in the U.S. Population Ages 2 Years and Older as 31% coming from snacks and sweets and 47% from beverages. Limit added sugar to less than 10% of calories. (Calorie needs differ by age, gender and activity level. Choose MyPlate Checklist describes calorie needs for different age groups.)

  • Activity:

Collect and review Nutrition Facts Labels of foods that contain added sugar such as candy, cakes, cookies, fruit drinks, and soft drinks. Determine the added sugar content per serving. For visual impact, use sugar cubes or teaspoons of sugar to represent the amount of sugar in one serving. (1 sugar cube = 1 teaspoon = 4 grams)


Show off Wellness

January 16, 2017

Friends enjoying lunch

Build awareness of the benefits of healthy lifestyles by “showing off wellness.” The Healthy Kids Challenge Healthy6 is a set of healthy habits from which to build messages. Educators and students have found these easy to use and remember. Creating bulletin boards and displays enhance the “see, hear and do” of the Healthy Kids Challenge Balance My Day Curriculum or stand alone to create awareness.

Consider all the ways the Healthy6 can be used:

  1. Fruits & Veggies – Every Day the Tasty Way
  2. Active Play, Balance My Day
  3. Breakfast GO Power
  4. Smart Servings
  5. Drink Think
  6. Snack Attack

See HKC’s January 18th WOWS Newsletter for great ideas for showing of wellness.

young family preparing meal in kitchen

In this month’s WOWS Newsletters, we are talking about Taste and Learn. It is another example of Healthy Kids Challenge’s signature Hear-See-Do learning. Learning is enhanced when kids can visualize (see) the message they are hearing and they practice the behavior (do).

Any time you can get kids to help in the kitchen is a great time. Starting with Halloween and through the end of the end of the year, we see a surge in access to sugary holiday sweets! Taste and Learn activities can give a boost to a balanced approach.

Along with cooking, recall the Healthy Kids Challenge Healthy6 for healthful holiday balance:

  • Fruits & Veggies Every Day the Tasty Way! At parties and holiday meals, plan to include and choose fruits and veggies.
  • Breakfast GO Power. Skipping meals to save up before a party isn’t a good strategy. Having a healthy snack before a party can help you eat less.
  • Drink Think. Water is always a great choice.
  • Smart Servings. Eating holiday candies and cookies is okay; just eat smaller portions less often.
  • Active Play Every Day. Turn off the electronics. For healthy balance, do something that gets you moving and that you enjoy for at least an hour every day.

Discover smart servings for healthier eating habits with a Smart Servings Challenge!Healthy Kids Challenge helps kids eat, move, and enjoy healthy balance

Size Up Your Servings

Here’s a fun exercise to see how you measure up when it comes to serving size, sugar and fat.

  1. Make a list of the top 10 foods you eat most often.
  2. Fill in the amount recommended as a serving by MyPlate.
  3. Look at labels for each of the foods listed and place checkmarks by foods with a higher percentage of fat or sugar (generally foods that list fat or sugar as one of the first five ingredients on the label have a high percentage of fat or sugar).
  4. Place a check mark by the foods that you need to watch your serving size.

Challenge yourself to eat these foods in smaller servings and/or less often.

Feel free to access the entire Smart Servings resource in the HKC-CIGNA Healthy Balance Toolkit.

You might also want to download and use this free tip sheet called Make Healthy Enjoyable. We really need to keep the fun in health, too!

The Learning Connection Report from our partner in health, Action for Healthy Kids, aligns perfectly with our model for the Balance My Daycurriculum and we are thrilled to join them in demonstrating that well-nourished and active kids are better equipped for success!

The Learning Connection: What You Need to Know to Ensure Your Kids Are Healthy and Ready to Learn demonstrates that

  • physical activity supports academic achievement,
  • well-nourished kids learn better and
  • that healthier practices in schools can increase school revenue.

The easy-to-read special report, released in 2013, is a roadmap for parents, educators, school administrators and school volunteers to create healthier school environments so the kids in their lives are better positioned to learn.

It’s a follow-up to Action for Healthy Kids’ landmark 2004 report The Learning Connection: The Value of Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Our Schools.

Read the full report:

Learn more about HKC’s Balance My Day nutrition curriculum.

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: Healthy Kids Challenge helps kids eat, move, and enjoy healthy balance

  1. Keep grab ‘n go breakfast ideas in reach, like string cheese, whole grain crackers and an apple.
  2. Try a new fruit or veggie, like jicama or starfruit, as a family.
  3. 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!

Honoring our special April Healthy Foods Challenges, we have 3 freebies to help you meet those challenges this month. Enjoy!

Red Ripe Strawberries Eat Right with Color

My favorite fruit is red…juicy, summer strawberries!

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?

For the entire April monthly activity instructions, click here. This activity is also found on pages 93-94 of the Balance My Day Nutrition Curriculum-Grades 6-8. One of my favorites!

Snack Attack Printables!

Grab ‘n Go Snack Ideas

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.

Healthy School Celebration Snack Ideas

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!

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