Moving into the holiday season, take a look at “where you are” with your own healthy behaviors. Choose this time to reassess and set goals for healthy eating and physical activity.

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Use the Cigna-HKC Mix Six for Healthy Balance Toolkit that focuses on 6 key healthy behaviors to guide you. Click on the Getting Started tab of the digital magazine for the introduction.

Next, click on the right arrow to get to the Personal Healthy Habit Inventory and take time to complete it.

Move on to My Healthy Habit Goals page and think about the goals you would like to achieve from the 6 key healthy behaviors listed.

Use the rest of the toolkit to focus on specific behaviors. Each section provides simple tips and ideas for individuals and families working toward a healthier lifestyle.


clapYou know it’s coming…as Thanksgiving and winter break approach kids get fidgety and need more help focusing on school work. Below are three HEAR-SEE-DO ideas to help kids re-focus.

Help kids hear the message that an active break helps them refocus on school work.
Let them see examples of quick and easy movements they can try.
Let them do by performing active play brain breaks.

  1. Crossovers (right & left brain exercises) – Have kids move their right elbow across their body to their left knee as they are raising it. Touch and resume to standing. Do the same with the left elbow and right knee. Repeat these 2 movements back and forth continuously for 2-3 minutes.

  2. Pencil Jumps – For a quick movement break between lessons have each student place a pencil on the floor. On command kids are to jump over their pencil a designated number of times.

  3. Over, Under, In-Between – For younger elementary kids, have them hop over, crawl under or walk (skip, gallop) in-between various items in the classroom.



physical education

In Flemingsburg, KY this HKC Balance My Day Training helped staff pick up where they left off at the last training: problem-solving to make wellness a priority in the school district.

The district’s Food Service Director and Managers, P.E. Teachers, a Cooperative Extension staff person and Youth Service Center workers worked all day to find creative solutions for the schools, such as:

How to teach kids and get them involved in healthy eating choices.

  1.  Use school menus in the classrooms for math, science and P.E. activities.
  2. Involve students in helping to publicize menus. One cafeteria was named using student input.

How to get more students to eat breakfast.

  1. Purchase mobile carts, which feature “grab and go breakfasts”.
  2. “Fuel Up to Play 60” Grant from the National Dairy Council.
  3. Staff at training all participated in an active game-one that can be used in P.E. or classrooms-that teaches kids to identify breakfast barriers and solutions.

As we broke for lunch, I saw a classroom full of kindergarten students run excitedly into the gym ready to move. Knowing that school staff have “ready to implement plans” for including healthy eating and fun physical activity as part of the whole school day assures me that Flemingsburg Students will have that kind of enthusiasm all school day long!

It was exciting to hear one Food Service Manager say that because of the recent district decision to provide free meals to all students, she feels like the district already puts wellness at the top of their priority list.

“Training provided us with useful information to help get staff, kids, Superintendent involved.” -School Food Service Staff

“Well executed and powerful ideas for help of the environment.”-Youth Service Center Worker

DanvilleA recent HKC Balance My Day Training in Danville, KY had P.E. teachers and food service staff hitting the books! Popular children’s books, that is. “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey (Viking Press) and “I’m a Seed” by Jean Marzallo (Scholastic) inspired staff to plan ways to get students invested in eating healthier and moving more.

Food Service staff planned to serve blueberries and post fun facts about blueberries in the cafeteria and P.E. teachers designed physical activities that emphasized different fruit and vegetable colors. I loved seeing the excitement on Food Service Director, Patty Taylor’s face as she used a book about honey to plan a program for students involving presentations by local bee keepers.

A Danville P.E. teacher mentioned that until the HKC Balance My Day training, she felt frustrated with the lack of time she had to prepare and deliver nutrition education. I was happy to hear that she was leaving the training feeling equipped to provide nutrition education in warm ups, cool downs and P.E. games.

Danville cafeterias have newly installed television monitors. By the end of the HKC Training, Danville Staff had plans to use those monitors to present fun food facts.

I applaud the Danville Schools for their commitment to helping students eat healthier and move more by including the school nurse, cafeteria staff, P.E. teachers and classroom approaches in their plans.

“Excellent. Full of great ideas. Helpful with problem solving issues.” – P.E. teacher

“More classroom teachers need to attend. Very useful workshop.” – P.E. teacher

“Excellent workshop. Interesting and fun.” – School foodservice staff

Bring a healthy focus to your school or community Halloween activities by including active play and nutritious snacks at your iStock_000014579838Smallevent!

Hear – See – Do Activities

Help kids hear the message that Halloween can be fun and healthy too!
Let them see and taste wholesome, healthy Halloween snacks.
Let them do by offering active play games.

Spooky Active Play:

Monster Freeze Dance – In a large room, have kids show off their best monster dance moves by playing the song “Monster Mash” and other seasonal tunes. Have them freeze in place when the tunes turn off.

Skeleton Scavenger Hunt – Purchase plastic skeleton parts (a complete skeleton for each group) from a toy or craft store and distribute over a large area. Organize kids into groups and tell them to roam the area picking up parts to reassemble into a complete skeleton.

Quick and Easy Halloween Snacks:

Ghosts and Pumpkins- Cut bananas in half and stand them on a platter. Push into the banana, one raisin for each eye and one for a mouth. Next to the “ghosts” place cutie oranges that have been peeled whole and place cut celery sticks in the tops for “pumpkin” stems. Serve.

Witches Brew – Serve a fun 100% juice blend (perhaps an orange mango version).


Whose turn was it to design A.W.E.-some (Appealing, Welcoming, Exciting) approaches for teaching K-8 students nutrition and physical activity?

  1. Health and physical education teachers from the Mill Hall, Pennsylvania school district AND
  2. Lock Haven University student Health/P.E. majors majoring in health and P.E.

During the training, small groups of teachers and Lock Haven students played musical chairs while brainstorming about healthy breakfasts. Students took the lead in planning and presenting lesson plans which combined minutes of motion with teaching MyPlate concepts.

I was thrilled to hear that in order to encourage students and families to eat more fruits and vegetables, the PEP Grant coordinator is working with local grocers to discount and advertise different types of produce throughout the year. A 5K training and competition targeted toward girls in the district also has much community support.

The district’s fitness centers are being rejuvenated to give students and teachers more physical activity options. Our training included discussions about “re-thinking” the school cafeteria so that it can be seen as a learning lab for healthy eating. Lock Haven students suggested decorating cafeteria walls and using lunch line waiting time for nutrition games or trivia contests.

At the end of the training a teacher commented that she appreciated learning about how to involve staff besides P.E. and health teachers in nutrition and physical activity skill building. Another teacher especially liked finding out about the different food-tracking apps appropriate for his students. Teachers and future teachers left the Healthy Kids Challenge Balance My Day training in Mill Hall, PA equipped to help their K-8 students eat healthier and move more.

Yes, I’d recommend this HKC-SPARK training to others. (It) helps you become more knowledgeable on implementing options in schools.”–Lock Haven Univ. Health/P.E. Student

It’s only the 2nd of October and it’s shaping up to be a very busy month! If you are looking for activities for healthy kids this month, we’ve got something here for you:

  1. WALK to SchoolApple photo
    Join kids and families around the globe to walk and bicycle to school in October! Remember that Wednesday, October 7, 2015 is Walk to School Day!
  2. ENJOY Family Meals.
    Focus on family meals with the Eat Better, Eat Together promotion throughout this month. Washington State University Extension offers free brochures and a toolkit to get you started.
  3. EAT Apples!
    This is meant to be a tasting menu for an “Apple Pairing Party” but don’t you think also works for kids’ snacks? Either way, celebrate Apple month by trying a new way to eat apples!
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