Cute toddler boy in supermarket choosing fresh organic carrots

Knowledge of nutrition without application leads nowhere. Be a “change helper” by helping kids recognize healthy habits; inspiring positive attitudes; identifying and developing skills; and setting realistic goals. The following example identifies a healthy habit and focuses on one of a number of skills for making “Smart Servings.”

Healthy Habit Goal: Choose “Smart Servings”
An activity that targets skills for recognizing and choosing less of foods high in saturated fat and added sugar.

Ask kids to:

  1. Identify their favorite snack foods and list them on a board.
  2. Review the list and identify snacks that might be higher in fat and/or sugar.
  3. Bring in package labels or search for product nutrition facts labels online.
    – Review the labels for serving sizes and compare to typical intake.
    – Check fat and added sugar content.
    – Rank the order of foods from those highest to lowest in fat. Do the same for added sugar.
  4. Talk about strategies for lowering fat and added sugar intake (answer: smaller servings or choosing those foods less often, or making another lower fat/sugar choice).
  5. Talk about whether or not they would use those strategies to make a change. If not, identify the barriers and possible solutions.

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.

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 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!

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Attack Everyone’s Snacks. Build healthy snacks into your own routine, and sit down and eat them with kids whenever possible.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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