Kindergarten children eating lunch

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) resource HEALTH AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT makes it clear that healthy eating and physical activity are linked to academic achievement. This means it is very much worth ensuring that we take the time to make it the most effective.

The Healthy Kids Challenge curriculum foundation has set the stage with learning theories and evidence based content for the greatest success. The content is built on the foundation of six healthy habit messages: daily physical activity and choosing breakfast, fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks, right-size portions, and healthy beverages. The curriculum meets standards recommended by the CDC HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool). Hands-on learning activities are designed to build skills for making healthy choices. The following appealing messages are repeated in different ways:

  • Active Play, Balance My Day
  • Breakfast GO Power
  • Drink Think
  • Fruits & Veggies – Every Day the Tasty Way
  • Smart Servings
  • Snack Attack

Along with building skills for making healthy choices, we help educators set kids up for success by creating settings that support healthier choices. For some time, research has supported healthier environments. The USDA Local School Wellness Policy requirements are one way healthier environments are supporting kids.

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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.

water_1_000004417867Small(1)

Thinking about what we drink during the freezing temperatures of winter and sweltering temperatures of summer is always a clue to healthy balance.  Soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened fruit drinks, cocoa and coffee drinks can all add up to lots of sugar in our day. Too often, we don’t think WATER.

Hear – See – Do Activity

  • First have kids list the things they drink each day and think about how much (and how often) water is a choice.
  • Suggest kids set a goal for replacing sugary beverages with water.
  • Talk about the following parent and family tips for drinking water more often:
  1. Sip water often.  Drink water throughout the day in mouthfuls instead of glasses, such as sips from a water bottle, a cup at your work desk or from a drinking fountain. Small amounts more often do the trick!
  2. Change the temperature. Drinking ice water in the winter can chill anyone! Drink lukewarm water or even water warmed in a mug with a lemon slice to increase the appeal.
  3. “Water up” before going outside. Cold, dry air can sap moisture from your nose and mouth when you are outside.  Drink water before going outside for an extended period of time to keep hydrated.
  4. Plan water for the “go to” mealtime beverage. Water at meals is a healthy habit all year, so offer water in addition to or in place of normal mealtime beverages. Water is the ultimate beverage; calorie-free and vital for life!

Drink Water

April 23, 2015

water_3_000041027846SmallWhat do you reach for when you are thirsty? Water, milk, a fruit drink, or soda? If water is not one of your first choices, think about your drink! Water is the ideal thirst quencher for many reasons…it doesn’t add extra calories or sugar just to name two.

Answer these Drink Think questions with your family:

  • What do we usually drink at mealtimes? With a snack? And when eating out?
  • How often do we drink soda and how much?
  • Could we choose water instead of sugary drinks more often?

Take the Drink Think Challenge – This month it’s about “Keeping Beverage Calories under Control”.

Try this Drink Think Tip: Take a reusable bottle full of cool, refreshing water with you everywhere. You’ll always have the best thirst quencher on hand! It will remind you to think about your drink when you’re tempted to spend money on a less satisfying drink choice.

“In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.”  — Lao Tzu

Take Healthy Action for kids, family, co-workers and the community! We want to help you initiate healthy change water_1_000004417867Small(1)regarding nutrition and physical activity, using our Take Healthy Action booklet suggestions.

  1. Use the Classroom & Afterschool activities and WOWS Newsletter ideas to teach a Healthy6 message at school, home or in the community.
    Drink Think – “Water and a Healthy Me”
  2. Reinforce the message with the corresponding Healthy Me Challenge (HMC) to set goals. In addition, the HMC can be used for staff, community members or families.
    Drink Think – Take Healthy Action…Keep Beverage Calories under Control
  3. Send home the corresponding message Parent Tip with kids, staff and community members to practice at home.
    Drink Think “Tap Into Water Every Day”
  4. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for other resources to help you take healthy action!

More Drink Think resources!

Cigna Mix Six for Healthy Balance Toolkit – share the Drink Think and other Healthy6 message tips with the families you know

HKC Food Cards – 156 common MyPlate food pictures for nutrition education activities

Kids will love these fun Drink Think and Active Play games. It’s July 4th with a healthy twist!4th of July photo

Sponge Relay Game
Milk Mustache Learning Game
Drink Think Challenges

There’s no doubt that kids enjoy playing games, but educators are also finding that games are really good teachers. See how:

Game-Based Learning: What it Is, Why it Works, and Where it’s Going – Learn more from this New Media Institute article.
Game-Based Learning Units for the Everyday Teacher – First-time gamer? Check out this Edutopia blog.

It’s easy and fun to use games for teaching healthy eating and active play concepts to the kids you lead!
Change the introduction: Turn a learning activity into a “game” with an introduction change and kids’ engagement in the activity.
Kids take interest when instead of saying, “we are going to learn about the MyPlate food groups”, you say “let’s play a game with the MyPlate food groups”.

Try this MyPlate Game:

  • Divide kids into 5 groups and assign each to one of the food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, Dairy) and a movement (marching in place, arm circles, etc.).
  • When you are discussing the different food groups, each time you say the food group name (Grains for example), the kids in that group jump up and perform their movement, then sit down.
  • For younger kids: Provide each child crayons and a MyPlate image on paper. Each time you discuss a different food group, kids draw a picture of a food representing that food group in the section on their page.

Have a safe and happy July 4th celebration with the kids!

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