What are Your Smart Servings?

February 13, 2017

Too many apples

For this week’s recognition of American Heart Month, the Healthy Kids Challenge WOWS Newsletter points out that we are not being heart smart when we fall for “Portion Distortion.” Bigger servings can mean too much of everything – including calories, sugar and fat – all things that can impact heart health.

“More and less” is a simple concept that many Americans can use to develop healthier habits. Let’s look at the stats to see how to apply the concept.

Need for More
We know that physical activity and eating fruits and veggies are heart healthy habits. However, recent CDC and Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 quoted “stats” show that we haven’t been making the grade:

  • Half of the total U.S. population consumed less than 1 cup of fruit and less than 1.5 cups of vegetables daily.
  • 76% of the U.S. population did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87% did not meet vegetable intake recommendations.
  • 51% of adults 18 years of age and over do not meet Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity.
  • 79% of adults 18 years of age and over do not meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic physical and muscle-strengthening activity.

Need for Less

  • In 2007-2010, Americans over-consumed added sugars and solid fats, which are high in calories.
  • Added sugars account on average for almost 270 calories, or more than 13 percent of calories per day in the U.S. population. Teens and men consume the most added sugars.
  • Solid fats consumed as part of foods or added to foods, account for more than 325 calories or more than 16 percent of calories per day, on average for the U.S. population, but provide few nutrients.

Show kids how to add interest and variety to the breakfast meal with foods from the garden. Share the activity below and Happy kids preparing a meal in the kitchenencourage the kids you lead to eat breakfast every day!

Fresh and Tasty English Muffin Recipe

Supplies: toaster oven, cutting board, knife, spatula, small paper plates

slicing tomatoes
bagged spinach
fresh basil leaves
shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese
whole grain English muffins (One prepared English muffin provides 4 tasting samples.)


  1. Let kids assist with food preparation. Point out the ingredients that can be grown in a garden.
  2. Wash and slice tomatoes on a cutting board, set aside.
  3. Place English muffin halves (inside up) on a baking sheet or oven toaster pan.
  4. Layer each muffin with the following:
    1 slice of tomato
    spinach and basil leaves (pre-washed)
    a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella
  5. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until cheese starts to melt.
  6. Allow to cool slightly and cut into tasting samples.
  7. Place on paper plates and serve.

Healthy Breakfast learning options:

Explain that eating fruits & veggies at breakfast provides color, variety and GREAT taste! So, they will be preparing a fun garden fresh breakfast recipe.

  1. Ask kids if they ate breakfast that morning? Explain that eating breakfast gives them GO Power to play and learn throughout the day.
  2. Ask what kind of foods are eaten at breakfast and write their comments on the board.
  3. Point out that fruit is a common choice but veggies may not be as familiar for breakfast.
  4. Give an example: scrambled eggs with salsa.

Find other class/group activities like the one above on our Printables web page!

Try out these other healthy breakfast and garden resources:
Nourish Interactive – Fun Materials promote Healthy Breakfast for Kids
OSU – Oregon Nutrition Education Program
– Garden Enhanced Nutrition Ed Lessons for Kids

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