March 18, 2016
After almost 20 years of being a leading nonprofit dedicated to developing leaders and environments that help kids and families eat healthy and move more, we are passing the baton to our partners, SPARK and School Specialty (Sportime). This change will help ensure and enhance the viability and vitality of the same quality, research-based nutrition education resources and services for years to come. See the full press release for MORE information.
February 19, 2016
National School Breakfast Week starts on March 7th. This year’s theme is Wake Up to School Breakfast. Please share this photo and help us spread the word! https://schoolnutrition.org/nsbw/
February 12, 2016
Help kids connect the happiness of special celebrations with healthy choices.
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.
Refreshing, ice cold water
Fruit infused water
Sparkling water with a splash of 100% fruit juice
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.
January 17, 2016
Go ahead and Take Healthy Action by teaching Breakfast GO Power messaging with multiple ideas and activities to drive the message home!
Have kids create a list of favorite healthy breakfast foods. Challenge them to make breakfast a daily habit! Use the Explore MyPlate Teaching Cards to jump start their lists and teach about breakfast foods in the different food groups.
Promote breakfast as a good way to start every day, not just during testing days! Have kids find facts online supporting breakfast every day, make a poster, and line the hallways with their promotions.
Our Wednesday WOWS newsletter has ideas every week!
Build Skills in the Classroom
Have kids create healthy breakfast menus including 3 MyPlate food groups or use our breakfast Classroom & Afterschool Activity “Shape Up My Day with Breakfast for GO Power“. Challenge kids to share these ideas with their parents.
Many more easy and flexible ideas can be found in the Balance My Day nutrition curriculum for grades K-8.
Change the Environment
Try out “grab-and-go” breakfast at school. Create appeal by marketing with signs everywhere. Have classes draw “Breakfast GO Power” messages; also present “Breakfast GO Power” commercials to another class.
Cook-up Cafeteria Excitement
Invite local celebrities to school breakfast, and as a bonus have a student reporter or class cover the event as a “media” story.
Create a plan with PTA to host a “Serving up MyPlate” breakfast as a way to give everyone a boost during testing weeks. For example, blend up smoothies and combine with a “build a breakfast trail mix” using whole grain cereal, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and nuts.
Connect with Families
Help Kids Fix Their Own Breakfast – Use this handout in the classroom and then send it home to families.
Take the Challenge – Take Healthy Action…Bite into Breakfast for Good Health
January 8, 2016
January is always a good time for a “Healthy Balance Check”. Start the year with a clean slate on the path to healthy habits. Have a MyPlate poster handy to discuss and have kids visualize healthy balance with eating choices. Also point out what isn’t found on MyPlate such as high sugar foods and beverages (soft drinks, syrups, candy, cookies, cakes, pastries).
Hear – See – Do Activities
- Have kids check current eating habits. Draw MyPlate on a paper plate. For each meal think about whether or not there is good balance with all food groups. One simple reminder for each meal is to fill half our plates with fruits and veggies.
- Because an important part of healthy balance is balancing food (energy in) with active play (energy out), on the back of the paper plate have kids write the activities and number of times they do them each week.
- Ask kids to set an easy to reach healthy goal. For example, one more fruit or veggie choice or one less soft drink each day.
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.
July 10, 2015
“I’d recommend this workshop to others. Usable, vital information regarding content and delivery methods.” – Balance My Day workshop participant
Food service staff prepared a salad bar, dinner rolls, soup and cookies for all school staff at continuing education classes and thus demonstrated that the cafeteria is THE perfect nutrition laboratory! In addition to the well-presented food, posters in the cafeteria help promote physical activity and healthy eating and create a welcoming atmosphere for students and staff.
Balance My Day (BMD) workshop attendees identified other ways their school can promote healthy lifestyle choices such as:
- displaying MyPlate concepts on bulletin boards,
- using brain break activities from the BMD Curriculum to promote fun physical activity AND teach nutrition concepts,
- food journaling activities such as a MyPlate paper chain and a Plate Your Breakfast game,
- playing tag games in P.E. which promote healthy choices,
- promoting healthy breakfast options in the nurses’ office and
- using food cards to help students choose a variety of foods from each food group.
I was impressed with the thorough way that LeRoy Schools planned their BMD Training allowing a variety of school staff to attend – lower elementary teachers, P.E. and science teachers, a family and consumer science teacher as well as school nurses.
Because of this comprehensive approach, students and staff in the LeRoy School District will encounter the message to Eat Right and Move More from many different sources during their school day and beyond.
“New ideas to use in elementary classroom with new curriculum.”
“Active and fun!”