Happy kids preparing a meal in the kitchen

This week’s WOWS Newsletter discusses the benefits of implementing a “taste and learn” activity and provides guidance for creating one. In that spirit, following is an easy-to-implement nutrition education activity designed to encourage healthy holiday choices.

  1. Talk about Snack Attack, i.e., many snack choices are filled with “empty calories.” In other words, some snacks provide a majority of calories from sugar or fat with few nutrients or health benefits. Examples: cakes, cookies, pies and pastries, doughnuts, fries, jams, syrups, jelly, sweetened fruit drinks, chips, salted snacks, candy, and soda provide lots of sugar or fat but have no or minimal vitamins, minerals, protein or fiber!
  2. Suggest kids create some healthier snack alternatives, i.e., choices we can enjoy. Because the holidays are approaching, include some with a holiday twist.
  3. There are many ways we can begin to think about choices; however, let’s begin by getting creative with ways we might make a hearty snack out of an English muffin. Set up the activity by listing potential ingredients:
    • Start with:
      • A whole grain English muffin or bagel
    • Choose a spread:
      • Peanut butter (or other nut butter)
      • Low fat cream cheese
      • Spaghetti sauce
    • Be creative with choosing a healthy topping mix such as:
      • Grated carrots and dried fruit
      • Chopped apples (sprinkled with cinnamon and softened in the microwave) and raisins
      • Chopped kiwis, strawberries and drained crushed pineapple
      • Chopped bananas and a sprinkle (1 tsp.) of mini chocolate chips
      • Sliced peaches and blueberries
      • Mozzarella cheese and shredded ham
      • Mozzarella cheese, chopped green pepper and tomatoes
      • Thinly sliced cucumbers and shredded ham (toss ham with small amount of low fat dressing)
      • Sliced hardboiled egg and shredded low fat cheese
  4. Create a list of the ideas generated and encourage kids try them with the help of their family.
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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.

American Heart Month

February 6, 2017

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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.

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

Fruit and Veggie Snacks

CELEBRATION 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.


CELEBRATION DRINKS

Refreshing, ice cold water

Fruit infused water

Sparkling water with a splash of 100% fruit juice


CELEBRATION ACTIVITIES:

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.

 

 

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Healthy Kids Challenge Valentine’s Day Snacks printable

Here are a few examples from our printable:

Valentine Fruit Bouquet – Using red or pink plastic skewers, alternate watermelon cubes, strawberries, cherries and red seedless grapes. Add a low-fat vanilla or berry yogurt for dipping!

Eat Your Heart Out Popcorn – Fresh popped popcorn lightly kissed with cinnamon sugar is special.

Tiny Treat Bags – Tie snack or sandwich size plastic bags with a red or pink ribbon. Add just a sprinkling of red and white chocolate covered candies to some tasty combinations such as:

  • Cran-raisins, almonds and pecans
  • Dried cherries, almonds and dried banana
  • Dried apples, peanuts and walnuts

The link to our printable list is: Healthy Kids Challenge Valentine’s Day Snacks

 

 

happy-valentines-day-40Healthy Kids Challenge Valentine’s Day Snacks
Here are a few examples from our printable:

Valentine Fruit Bouquet – Using red or pink plastic skewers, alternate watermelon cubes, strawberries, cherries and red seedless grapes. Add a low-fat vanilla or berry yogurt for dipping!

Eat Your Heart Out Popcorn – Fresh popped popcorn lightly kissed with cinnamon sugar is special.

Tiny Treat Bags – Tie snack or sandwich size plastic bags with a red or pink ribbon. Add just a sprinkling of red and white chocolate covered candies to some tasty combinations such as:

  • Cran-raisins, almonds and pecans
  • Dried cherries, almonds and dried banana
  • Dried apples, peanuts and walnuts

The link to our printable list is: Healthy Kids Challenge Valentine’s Day Snacks

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