March 13, 2017
It has been reported that eating more fruits and vegetables may boost psychological well-being. New research now shows there can be a boost in motivation and vitality in as little as two weeks. That news provides an even greater incentive to include fruit and vegetable intake among the small changes to which we are aspiring during National Nutrition Month®.
Teachers and youth leaders are daily role models for kids. The personal changes made related to healthy eating habits can provide a positive influence in ways you may have not even considered! With these fun and positive employee wellness suggestions, start with fruits and veggies to enhance or develop healthy modeling at your school or program.
- Place simple fruit and vegetable messages in the staff room and hallways.
- Take photos of staff with their favorite fruit or vegetable and post. Encourage staff to share how they like to eat it and if there is a favorite recipe of theirs.
- Have staff share ideas to add more fruits and vegetables to their day. Such as:
- adding fruit to dry or cooked cereal
- putting extra vegetables in soups or casseroles or on pizza
- adding fresh fruits to yogurt
- making a fruit or vegetable a part of a snack
For the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended for adults each day, refer to MyPlate Daily Checklist. Recommendations vary according to daily calorie needs. For many adults that is around 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables each day.
October 24, 2016
Let’s put the spotlight on Active Play. It is one part of the Healthy Balance equation (“Active Play” + Healthy Eating Choices = Healthy Balance). It also enhances learning, including nutrition classroom lessons. Every HKC Balance My Day Curriculum nutrition lesson has a corresponding Move and Learn activity. The following activity demonstrates how Active Play can be integrated in the classroom. This example works well for Pre-K to 2nd Grade students. An expanded version is found in the Wellness Solutions Toolkit. For another example, see the October 26th WOWS Newsletter “Spellercise” activity.
Simon Sez, Breakfast gives GO Power!
- Talk with students about how eating breakfast makes learning easier and helps kids feel and look their best.
- Look at a MyPlate poster (choosemyplate.gov). Point out the different food groups and how we usually eat foods from the Grains Group at Breakfast. Talk about how we get the BEST GO Power when we choose foods from other groups to go with our Grains. Examples: CEREAL with low fat MILK and a BANANA. A whole wheat TORTILLA with low fat CHEESE and APPLE slices. Whole wheat TOAST with scrambled EGG and STRAWBERRIES.
- Play Simon Sez to emphasize the benefits of eating breakfast. When YES, students perform movements the leader calls out such as hop, jump, skip, or swim.
- Simon Sez: Eating breakfast every day helps give you GO Power. (YES)
- Simon Sez: Missing breakfast gives you GO Power. (NO)
- Simon Sez: Eating breakfast can help make learning easier. (YES)
- Simon Sez: Eating breakfast helps kids feel and look their best. (YES)
If you are integrating Active Play into classroom learning or in other situations now, share your ideas with others. Doing so expands opportunities for enhanced learning and healthy balance!
December 11, 2015
If it’s been a while since you’ve addressed nutrition in your classroom, use this activity to bring healthy eating back in focus with the kids you lead.
Adapted from Balance My Day™ nutrition curriculum, Grades 3-5, Lesson 2
Explain that healthy eating means choosing a healthy plate (food from all 5 MyPlate food groups: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy, Protein) with less of those foods high in fat and added sugar.
Divide kids into teams and give each team 10 or more food cards or magazine pictures (representing a variety of food groups).
Ask the teams to use the cards/pictures to create a meal that has all 5 MyPlate food groups. Provide the MyPlate poster for kids to view.
Ask each team to present the meal they created and explain the ease or difficulty of choosing a meal with foods from all 5 food groups.
Encourage kids to think about and try to eat a variety of foods from the 5 food groups at their meals.
June 26, 2014
There’s no doubt that kids enjoy playing games, but educators are also finding that games are really good teachers. See how:
Game-Based Learning: What it Is, Why it Works, and Where it’s Going – Learn more from this New Media Institute article.
Game-Based Learning Units for the Everyday Teacher – First-time gamer? Check out this Edutopia blog.
It’s easy and fun to use games for teaching healthy eating and active play concepts to the kids you lead!
Change the introduction: Turn a learning activity into a “game” with an introduction change and kids’ engagement in the activity.
Kids take interest when instead of saying, “we are going to learn about the MyPlate food groups”, you say “let’s play a game with the MyPlate food groups”.
Try this MyPlate Game:
- Divide kids into 5 groups and assign each to one of the food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, Dairy) and a movement (marching in place, arm circles, etc.).
- When you are discussing the different food groups, each time you say the food group name (Grains for example), the kids in that group jump up and perform their movement, then sit down.
- For younger kids: Provide each child crayons and a MyPlate image on paper. Each time you discuss a different food group, kids draw a picture of a food representing that food group in the section on their page.
Have a safe and happy July 4th celebration with the kids!
The Apple Almond Salad recipe from last week is easy to use when teaching kids about healthy habits, and easy for them to learn some basic kitchen skills, too! At a school or community program, or even at home, use this activity to challenge kids to learn about what they’re tasting. It works with many fruit & veggie-based recipes, but our favorite is that apple-almond salad!
Taste and Learn Activity Materials: MyPlate symbol
- Fill half of a standard size meal plate with salad and explain it represents the fruits and veggies of the MyPlate symbol.
- Discuss how eating that amount at meals helps kids get their suggested daily servings of fiber.
- Ask kids to think of the fruits/veggies they ate yesterday.
- Did the amount they ate fill half a plate? Have them draw a representation of their plate.
- Ask kids to create a menu using the recipe and the other MyPlate food groups (grains, protein and dairy).
- Have them create a grocery list for their menu.
At home, parents can empower kids to get involved too!
- Allow kids to help create the grocery list
- Parents and kids go grocery shopping together
- Kids make the meal with parents and eat together
Download parent tip sheets to reinforce the messaging here:
Come back next week for more “Taste and Learn” Recipes, including the Turkey Veggie Wrap and a Yummy Fruit Combo!
Challenge Kids to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right!
September 5, 2013
Everyone loves a fresh idea on getting kids to taste (and like!) fruits and vegetables, so why not 14 of them? Our newly redesigned web site is stocked with activity ideas showing you how to celebrate Fruit and Vegetable Month, and make the connections to spread the message everywhere kids live, learn, and play!
In the classroom
- How Many Fruits & Veggies On Your Plate? – grades 3-5 activity
- Colorful Plates Activity Sheet for Kids up to age 5
- Colorful Plates Activity Sheet for Kids ages 6+
- Balance My Day™ – Nutrition Education Curriculum – grades K-8, comprehensive, HECAT-based outcomes
- Berry, Berry Good Preschool Lessons – focus on oranges, blueberries, broccoli, and tomatoes
- Health Works Basic Kit K-8th – fruit and vegetable activities, messaging, and ideas
Just for parents
- Picky Eaters Can Pick Healthy Foods – printable home connection tip sheet
- Colorful Plates: Helping Kids Eat Healthier – printable tip sheet…Discover simple, delicious ways to help your family eat at least 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables every day.
Just for you
- Healthy Me Challenge – Fruits and Veggies
- Taste and Learn Recipe Book – features simple fruit and veggie snack recipes
For a friendly competition
- Fruit and Veggie Challenge -challenge kids to eat more fruits and veggies in one week
- Colorful Plates Challenge – challenge friends, family, co-workers to eat more fruits and veggies
- HKC Cigna Healthy Balance Toolkit – features “Colorful Plates” messaging, activities, tip sheets, flyers, and goal-setting
- Explore MyPlate Wristbands – in 5 bright colors, a great incentive for reaching healthy goals
Enjoy the activities and let us know how you celebrate Fruit and Vegetable Month!
August 15, 2013
Eight great HKC tools for truly interactive health fairs and back to school fun as your planning kicks into high gear! We’ve found these to be so versatile and easy to use that we can’t resist sharing our favorites. If you need something specific and it’s not listed here, feel free to contact me, and I’ll help you find it. Enjoy!
- Health Works Toolkit – An ultimate toolkit for health fairs, this kit includes all 7 booklets in the Health Works! Wellness in Academics basic kit.
- Setting Up for Success – Interactive, simple and fun healthy eating & physical activity displays, nutrition games, and shoestring budget activities. Great classroom, learning center, cafeteria, parent event, & health fair ideas.
- Ready, Set, Cook & Eat – Plan a fun, interactive event promoting simple kitchen skills and healthy food choices. Three teams compete in a healthy cook-off while an emcee keeps the audience involved. Use for family & consumer science classrooms, afterschool programs, community events, parents’ night, or almost anywhere!
- Explore MyPlate – An event planning guide for an actual walk through MyPlate. Engage all ages with a walk to understand how to eat, move and enjoy a healthy balance. Set up in the cafeteria, gym, parking lot, football field, shopping mall, city park, or anywhere space permits.
- Food Cards – Looking for food pictures to use for health fairs, bulletin boards, nutrition education activities; or for younger kids, food identification? Download a file of 156 common foods from MyPlate. Foods are listed in an index by food group. Each page contains six easy to identify food pictures and their name. Download, laminate, cut and you’re ready.
- Bookmarks – Sometimes all you need is a bright, fun incentive for a health fair or fundraiser and these are perfect. For kids: front–Colorful Kids Star Graphics; back– 7 “Healthy Me” goals for kids to choose. For adults: front–Challenge Star Graphics; back–”Healthy Me” goals.
- MyPlate Teaching Cards – A handy set of color coded MyPlate teaching cards. Each card provides a simple Challenge message, tip, and healthy choice example for the MyPlate food groups (and physical activity). A great tool for educators and a smart health fair give away for families! Seven cards are secured by a corner grommet, allowing them to fan-out. English and Spanish versions are available.
- Explore MyPlate Wristbands – Another educational incentive for health fairs, these silicone wristbands have debossed wording which reads: Explore MyPlate – Fruits Veggies Grains Protein Dairy. They come in 5 colors – Orange, Purple, Green, Red, Blue.