Elementary Pupils And Teacher Eating Lunch

March is National Nutrition Month®, and the 2018 slogan is “Go Further with Food.” This month is the perfect time to go further with support for healthier habits. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has ideas to celebrate the month; Healthy Kids Challenge has seen success with the ideas posted for schools or workplaces. We’ve highlighted a few of those, along with some suggestions:

  1. Vote for your favorite fruits and vegetables: Offer a selection of fruits and vegetables cut into bite-size pieces. Ask participants to vote for their favorite vegetable and fruit. Post a tally board to record votes. Handout “20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits and Vegetables.” HKC Suggestion: Start a Fruit and Veggie Challenge. Have kids tally the number of fruits and veggies they eat each day.
  2. Classroom: Ask children to carefully save empty food product labels and boxes. Spend some time reading labels and comparing information in the Nutrition Facts panels. Expand into a menu-planning opportunity, individually or in teams, using MyPlate as the guide to a healthy meal. HKC Suggestion: For a “Snack Attack” lesson, collect snack food labels. Create a pictorial graph of food from the most to the least amount of sugar or fat.
  3. Organize a health fair that promotes healthy eating resources and important preventive screenings. HKC Suggestion: Make it as interactive as possible. For example, focus on fruit and veggie resources and conduct a vote for their favorites, as suggested in #1 above.


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.

National Nutrition Month

February 20, 2017


Next month is National Nutrition® Month. If you haven’t had time to plan and implement the suggestions provided in each of the February WOWS Newsletters for American Heart Month, there is good news. All of the “mini lessons” are appropriate to use during National Nutrition Month, too.

To summarize last month’s Healthy Kids Challenge Newsletter and Blog content:

  1. Ideas to create awareness of the importance of making choices for a healthier heart.
  2. Talking points and “mini lesson” ideas for each of the Healthy6 Habits that contribute to healthier hearts.
  3. Tips for healthy Valentine’s Day parties.
  4. Actions for practices, policies and environments that support choices for healthy hearts.

Explore MyPlate Teaching Cards are a versatile nutrition ed tool to help you teach all ages during National Nutrition Month and year round!

Explore MyPlate  Cards








Explore MyPlate Teaching Cards offer quick and fun nutrition and activity messages for the following audiences and more:

Health Fair or Parent Night (worksites, community events or schools) – Set up display tables of the 5 MyPlate food groups and active play. Provide participants teaching cards and point out the healthy messages as you lead them through the table displays. (See our Explore MyPlate event guide for details.)

explore myplate cover hi res










Classroom or Afterschool Kids Activities – Choose a theme each week during the month (Grains, Fruits & Veggies, Dairy, Protein and Active Play). Use the cards for bulletin board ideas, weekly kids challenges and quick healthy messages during breaks. Also a great asset for use with our Balance My Day ™nutrition curriculum!

Balance My Day Grades 3-5 Nutrition Curriculum

Health Departments and Clinics – Place teaching cards in waiting and exam rooms and use for nutrition education opportunities.

Be creative with your Healthy Kids Challenge resources and the following National Nutrition Month Event Ideas:

To learn more about National Nutrition Month, here is a link to the press release: This National Nutrition Month, the Academy Encourages Everyone to Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

Challenge yourself and your kids to continue to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” beyond National Nutrition Month.

Challenge 1: Share family mealsmedium_Boy and Dad Salad Mix6767XSmall

  • Try the Oregon Shared Meals Initiative
  • “Research shows that regular family meals boost consumption of dairy, fruits, vegetables, and grains, and reduce consumption of soft drinks. Youth who have regular family meals also do better in school, are more motivated and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.”
  • To help kids enjoy eating right, have them help shop, prepare, and taste new recipes all throughout the month of March, and even into spring and summer.

Challenge 2: Make tortilla pizza and fruit mix-up for a family meal

Food Safety Reminder

  • Clean hands, food contact surfaces, and fruits and veggies.
  • Separate raw, cooked, & ready-to-eat foods while shopping, storing, and preparing foods.
  • Cook foods to a safe temperature.
  • Chill (refrigerate) perishable foods promptly. 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Tortilla Pizza
Preparation Time: 5 minutes. Serves: 6 servings

12 small corn or flour tortillas
1-16 oz. can fat free refried beans
1⁄4 cup chopped onion
2 oz. fresh or canned green chili peppers, diced
6 Tbsp. red taco sauce
3 cups chopped vegetables (such as broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers)
½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Brush one side of each of two tortillas with water. Press the wet sides of the tortillas together to form a crust for the pizza.
  2. Brush the outside of the tortillas with a small amount of oil. Evenly brown both sides in a heated frying pan. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Set aside.
  3. Heat refried beans, chopped onion, and half of the diced chili peppers together in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  4. Spread about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture on each tortilla pizza.
  5. Sprinkle each pizza with 1 tablespoon taco sauce, then top with ½ cup of chopped vegetables, 1 teaspoon of diced chili peppers, and 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
  6. Return to frying pan and heat until cheese melts. Top with cilantro, if desired.
  7. Cut pizzas into quarters and serve on dessert plates for tasting.
  8. Clean work area and utensils with warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water.

Per full-size serving (1 pizza): 257 Calories, 9.0g Pro, 5.8g Fat, 20% Calories from Fat
Recipe Source: (Modified) http://www.fruits&veggiesmatter.gov. Accessed 6/11.

Fruit Mix-Up
Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes. Serves: 9 (1 cup) servings

6 cups crushed pineapple, packed in juice and drained
2-1/4 cups frozen blueberries
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped


  1. In advance, keep blueberries frozen.
  2. Wash hands with soap and water before handling food or utensils to prevent the sprea of germs.
  3. Using a clean cutting board and sharp knife, chop the dried apricots into small pieces. Measure 1 cup and place in the large mixing bowl.
  4. Place the drained pineapple in the mixing bowl and stir.
  5. Add the frozen blueberries to the bowl and stir gently. Serve.
  6. Clean-up work area and utensils with warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water.

Per 1 cup serving: 134 Calories, 0.5g Protein, 0.3g Fat, 2% Calories from Fat

Try a Frozen Yogurt Fruit Cup for an easy snack recipe during March this year, and join us in celebrating National Nutrition Month 2013!

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Cup

Serves 6

1 banana
8 ounces plain low-fat yogurt
4 ounces frozen berries, thawed with juice
4 ounces crushed pineapple canned in natural juice, with juice


  1. Line 6 muffin-tin cups with paper baking cups.
  2. Dice or mash banana and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Spoon into muffin cups and freeze at least 3 hours or until firm.
  5. Before serving, remove paper cups and let stand 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
68 calories 0.6 g fat 0.3 g saturated fat
2.5 mg cholesterol 32.2 mg sodium 2.5 g carbohydrate
14 g dietary fiber 2.8 g protein

Recipe provided courtesy of Eat Right Press, from Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens by Jodie Shield, MEd, RD and Mary Catherine Mullen, MS, RD. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ©2012.

You can find more recipes for National Nutrition Month in the Recipe Handouts section of the web site.

Need more easy snack recipes? Check out these resources!

25 Healthy Snacks for Kids – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics downloadable handout!

Relish – Healthy Snacks for Kids

Bake for Family Fun – Homebaking Association

Taste and Learn Recipes – Healthy Kids Challenge

Get Your Plate in Shape Challenge KayleeOur fan, Karalee, wins recognition this second week of the Challenge for shaping up her snack with fruit – strawberries, strawberries, strawberries! Remember that small changes are the most sustainable. Simply adding a serving of fruit to a snack is an easy way to shape up your plate.

Congrats, Karalee, you now get a chance to win HKC Explore MyPlate wristbands and a fun, healthy-themed T-shirt!

And speaking of recognition, we are so excited to share with you that our very own, Vickie James, RD, LD, has just been inducted into the MDPA Hall of Fame!  The Marketing Disease Prevention + Awareness (MDPA) Hall of Fame is designed to honor those who have made substantial strides in helping to improve health through better efforts in marketing, communication, and improving awareness of important health issues. The focus of those inducted in this year’s class will be based on their contributions to fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity.

A hallmark of the Healthy Kids Challenge® is making healthy easier through our “Healthy6 messages”. When kids like Karalee find it easy to eat juicy, fresh strawberries for a snack every day, it is real world proof that “Fruits and Veggies Every Day the Tasty Way” is not only achievable, but sustainable. Find more simple, every day ways to add fruits and veggies to your day on our Healthy6 web pages.

Remember to show us how YOU shape up kids’ plates during this National Nutrition Month by sending your photos to healthy.me@healthykidschallenge.com!

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