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.


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.

Help kids connect the happiness of special celebrations with healthy choices.

Fruit and Veggie Snacks


Popcorn. Low-fat and sprinkle with seasoning.

Parfaits. Low fat yogurt or pudding, fruit, and granola.

Frozen yogurt popsicles. Blenderize low-fat fruited yogurt, berry juice and berries and freeze.

Mini-bagel pizzas. Whole grain bagels halves, pizza sauce, part-skim mozzarella cheese.

Mini waffles. Whole grain frozen waffles, low-fat cream cheese, fruit.

Trail mix. Whole grain low sugar cereals, nuts, seeds, dried fruit.

Fruit kabobs. Alternate seasonal or favorite colors and shapes.

Raw veggies with dip. Different colors, shapes and sizes add appeal.

Chips and salsa. Whole grain chips with veggie or fruit salsa.


Refreshing, ice cold water

Fruit infused water

Sparkling water with a splash of 100% fruit juice


Veggie Taste Testing Fun: Provide familiar raw veggies such as celery, carrot and green pepper sticks, but then provide some unique veggie samples to taste test and rate like sweet potato, jicama, Chinese cabbage, turnips and rhubarb.

Fruit Taste Testing Fun: Provide familiar fresh apple, orange and banana slices, but also include unique fruits like mango, pineapple, berries and star fruit. (Optional: Include dried fruit samples like apricots, cranberries, prunes, and cherries.)

Build your own trail mix: Offer choices of low sugar, whole-grain cereals, seeds or nuts, dried fruits and snack crackers. Kids scoop appropriate serving sizes of their choices into individual plastic baggies.



iStock_000014176496SmallSeptember is Fruit & Veggie Month so use this easy nutrition lesson below to get kids thinking about eating healthy produce!

Hear – See – Do Activity: Amazing Fruits and Veggies

Help kids hear the message that fruits & veggies are healthy and tasty.
Let them see the variety of fruit & veggie colors.
Let them do by giving them a challenge to complete.

Discussion Points –

Fruits & veggies rule when it comes to great taste and loads of nutrients. See the benefits:

Vitamins and minerals: Different fruits & veggies provide different types and amounts of vitamins and minerals so eating a variety is important.

Fiber: It fills us up so that we don’t overeat and keeps our digestive tract moving along and healthy.

  • Orange fruits and veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe) provide Vitamin A for healthy eyesight, skin and hair.
  • Kiwi fruit, green peppers and oranges provide Vitamin C that heals wounds and keeps gums healthy.

Discussion Questions – Write fruit & veggie colors across the classroom board. Purple/Blue–Green–White–Red–Yellow/Orange

  1. Not counting juice, which fruits & veggies did you have to eat today? Write kids’ responses under the appropriate color groups.
  2. Are there color groups missing?
  3. If you aren’t eating the recommended amounts (at least 1-1/2 cups of fruit and 2-1/2 cups of veggies) every day, do you think you could? How would you do it? (Brainstorm and write answers on the board)
  4. Challenge kids to set one goal that will help them eat more fruits and/or veggies this week.

Adapted from the “Amazing Fruits & Veggies” lesson, Balance My Day™ nutrition curriculum, Grades 3-5

iStock_000009330809XSmallSchool field trips can provide healthy, experience-based education and engaging activities. Check out the Target Field Trip Grants opportunity for funding and schedule a wellness-based field trip for the kids you lead. See ideas below!

Hear – See – Do Activity Ideas

Help kids hear the message that eating healthy food is nourishing and tasty too!

Let them see examples of healthy, tasty food choices at local gardens, grocery stores or food banks.

Let them do by providing interactive activities.

Give kids a chance to touch, feel, smell, see and incorporate all modes of learning with food-related field trips:

  • Grocery stores provide an opportunity to teach about the MyPlate food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, Protein). Show kids how to read food labels and make healthy food choices.
  • Local farmer’s markets, orchards or gardens offer kids a chance to see a colorful variety of healthy produce and to learn how it is grown.

Incorporate physical activity and community service in a field trip:

  • Schedule a time when kids can assist a local community garden with gardening tasks such as planting or harvesting.
  • Set-up a time when kids can assist a community food bank to unload, shelve or package food items for patrons. Discuss hunger in America and the local organizations working toward solutions.

As kids grow fruits & veggies themselves, they learn about the healthy benefits of eating them: rich in nutrients and fiber, satisfying and fill you up!

HEAR: Help kids hear the message that veggies are satisfying and fill you up!
SEE: Let them see the fiber and water content in veggies.
DO: Let them do with the opportunity to grow zucchini plants.

Grow Healthy Summer Zucchini
Ahead of Time: Purchase several 16 inch wide plastic pots, potting soil and zucchini seeds

  1. Bring a picture or real example of a zucchini to show the group. Ask how many kids have eaten zucchini in the last month? Mention that zucchini offers fiber and water that helps fill you up when eating, and plenty of nutrients to keep you healthy!
  2. Share some fun zucchini trivia: One medium-sized zucchini has more potassium than a banana and only 25 calories! The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69 1/2 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs
  3. Share with the kids that they will be helping to plant, grow and harvest zucchini. If you like, let kids view a video about growing zucchini plants in containers (
  4. Organize kids into groups based on the number of pots available. Provide soil and let them plant their zucchini seeds. Water and set outside in a protected area to grow.

Optional Activities:

  • Writing Skills: Have kids keep a journal about their plant’s growth progress.
  • Math Skills: Chart growth on a graph.
  • Tasting: Offer raw zucchini sticks as a snack.
  • Food Preparation: Have kids prepare a zucchini recipe with their harvested zucchini, like the recipe in the video above.

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” — Gertrude Jekyll

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