Monday, June 27, 2011

Nutrition Education That Works Everywhere Kids Live, Learn, and Play

Our brand of nutrition education is unique because it doesn’t always begin in the classroom. Of course it can if you use the new Balance My Day nutrition education curriculum, but what I’m talking about takes that concept and spreads it everywhere kids live, learn and play.

Schools, businesses, communities, healthcare organizations, families, and kids can all support a culture of health. Nutrition education is just one of the ways each of us can help in the fight against childhood obesity. It’s becoming easier now than ever before with the national Let’s Move campaign. There’s something everyone can do. 

See below for some of the highlights of what we're doing with our unique twist on nutrition education beyond classroom curriculum...from win-win partnerships to toolkits, from student chefs to a national recipe contest.

1. Top 5 Ways Healthy Kids Challenge Supports Let's Move

2. Chef Inspired, Kid Approved

3. Partner Spotlight: Orange County Public Schools OCPS

4. 3 Students Win "Chef for a Day" at School

5. MyPlate, Meet Colorful Plates...Helping Kids Be Healthy

6. Timely Trio: The PEP Grant, Healthy Kids Challenge and SPARK

7. Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids: 4 Actions Schools Can Take Now

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Smart Servings: Part 1 of the Healthy Kids Challenge Way to Teach MyPlate to Kids

Serving size
Image by CaptQuirk via Flickr
Smart Servings is one of the HKC Healthy6 messages, and matches up with the MyPlate key messages teaching kids to balance their calories. Teach Smart Servings to kids using this Smart Servings Balancer Choices lesson. Utilize MyPlate and real paper plates to help kids hear, see, and practice the lesson.

Smart Servings Balancer Choices (Lesson 4: Grades 3-5, Balance My Day)

Outcomes: This lesson meets HECAT Standards 1.3, 1.5. 1.11, 7.6, 7.7

Materials: paper plates, 1 1/2 decks of cards, 5 tennis balls, food labels


1. Point out that serving sizes are identified in both weight and volume measures.

2. Look at recommended MyPlate food group servings and distinguish weight and volume measures. As possible, use cup measures and a weight scale as visuals.

3. Use every day items to compare 5 ounces of Protein to 5 cups of Fruits and Vegetables. The numbers are the same, but 5 ounces of Protein is the same volume as about 1 1/2 decks of cards vs. 5 cups of Fruits and Vegetables, which is comparable in size to 5 tennis balls.

4. Look at miscellaneous food labels and determine if serving size is given as a weight or volume measure, or a “per each.”

Move and Learn:

Pre-prep: Count enough paper plates so there is 1 per student. Label the plates on one side with one of the 5 major MyPlate food groups and on the other side the average number of daily servings for a 9-13 y.o.: 6 Grains, 2 1/2 cups Vegetables, 1 1/2 cups Fruits, 3 Dairy, 5 ounces Protein.
  • Pass out paper plates, 1 per student.
  • Have kids take a plate, toss it “Frisbee-style”; then randomly pick up another plate and toss. Continue until asked to stop.
  • Upon stopping, ask kids to pick up any plate, and pair off with another student.
  • Have each student look at the food group side of their plate and quiz the other person for the number of daily servings in that group.
  • Repeat the tossing activity.
  • To conclude, ask kids to place their plates, according to major food groups, in an imaginary MyPlate shape. With the food group sides up, ask kids if they can recall the number of recommended servings.
Eat in moderation by choosing Smart Servings for a healthy plate (all 5 major MyPlate groups) and less of foods high in fat and added sugar. Choosing foods with plenty of fiber, like fruits and veggies can help us keep from overeating.

These are just 2 parts of Lesson 4 - the lesson activity and the Move and Learn activity from p. 105 in grades 3-5 Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum. The worksheet, teacher resource, student assessment, discussion points and questions, and answer key are available for your review, along with school nutrition services and Taste and Learn activities supporting this lesson. Learn more about the Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum.

Next week part 2 is about teaching the fruits and vegetables groups using MyPlate and the Healthy6 message: Fruits & Veggies Every Day the Tasty Way. Join us!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Healthy Kids Challenge Healthy6 Ways to Teach MyPlate to Kids Series

Follow along over the next 6 weeks as I highlight lessons and ideas for using each Healthy6 message to teach MyPlate to kids. Our HKC Healthy6 messages make it fun for kids to learn the MyPlate way. You can continue to count on these six messages to teach kids healthy habits in an easy, simple, and affordable everyday way!

Healthy Kids Challenge registered trademark     MyPlate image 


Healthy6 messages          =                 MyPlate messages

Week 1. Smart Servings = Avoid oversized portions. Enjoy your food, but eat less.

Week 2. Fruits & Veggies Every Day the Tasty Way = Make half your plate fruits and veggies.

Week 3. Breakfast GO Power = Make at least half your grains whole grains.

Week 4. Drink Think = Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Week 5. Snack Attack = Compare sodium in foods and choose the foods with lower numbers.

Week 6. Active Play, Balance My Day = Be physically active your way.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meet 3 Middle Schoolers Who Became Chefs for a Day

3 recipe contest winners were treated to an awesome learning experience! Andrew Hackney, Sara Wright, and Stephanie Williams became Chefs for a Day! Thanks to Johnson & Wales University and Del Monte, classrooms experienced an entertaining and educational visit from a Johnson Wales University (JWU) Chef. Chefs impressed students with their skills during the Chef for a Day visits. Fun and healthy culinary demonstrations were given, cooking and career questions answered, and the winning recipe was prepared with samples for the students to taste! For full story, click here:

Friday, June 10, 2011

8 Kids Health Headlines You Don't Want to Miss

Keep up with kids health this summer with these 8 headlines that you don't want to miss. From webinars to videos to school awards for health, there's a lot going on!

1. Webinar: "Healthy Choices for School Children: Getting the Junk Foods Out of Schools"
Thursday, June 16, 2011, 12:00 – 1 p.m. EST
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act requires USDA to issue healthy nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools.

Associated Press, Nancy Benac, 06/08/2011 
Michelle Obama announced a new national initiative to encourage child care centers to promote healthy eating and exercise habits starting with the littlest Americans.

3. Video: Government Role in Nutrition Guidelines 
CSPAN "Washington Journal", Libby Casey, 06/06/2011 
Maya Rockeymoore and Walter Olson talk about the role of the federal government in setting nutrition guidelines for schools, and they responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Topics included new White House dietary recommendations that replace the old food pyramid with a plate visual, obesity, and school meal requirements.

Time "Healthland", Alice Park, 05/30/2011 
In a new report, the nation's pediatricians are advising teens not to down sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade unless they're actually playing sports and to forgo energy drinks like Java Monster, Red Bull and Full Throttle altogether.

5. Online Video Workshop Series: Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in Physical Education: James Sallis, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University; Kenneth Dyar, Coordinator of Physical Education at Delano Union School District; and Jane Russo, Superintendent of Santa Ana Unified District. 

6. Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents? Amber J. Hammons, PhD, Barbara H. Fiese, PhD

7. Alliance for a Healthier Generation to Honor Schools on June 13. The Alliance's Healthy Schools Program will honor more than 250 schools for their work creating healthy environments for students and staff. The event will stream live online on Monday, June 13 from

8. HealthierUS School Challenge: Last week in the Dallas Independent School District, 154 schools received the gold and bronze awards; the greatest number in a single district.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How Healthy Kids Challenge Aligns with USDA MyPlate

The MyPyramid symbol has just been replaced by MyPlate! Healthy Kids Challenge will help educators and kids make a smooth transition from MyPyramid to the exciting new MyPlate.
MyPlate is a reminder for Americans to eat according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
MyPlate illustrates the five food groups using a familiar mealtime visual, a place setting. There isn’t a change in the colors that identify the food groups.

ChooseMyPlate.govThe MyPlate messages are:
  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
These are messages shared in the Healthy Kids Challenge Healthy6. Simple revisions will put this in line with MyPlate.
Healthy Kids Challenge will help educators and kids make a smooth transition from MyPyramid to the exciting new MyPlate. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 3, 2011

MyPlate, Meet 'Colorful Plates'... Helping Kids Be Healthy


MyPlate is a fun, simplistic way to help kids be healthy. Colorful Plates is just one part of a toolkit developed especially for you to start implementing the new MyPlate today! Use Colorful Plates to help kids and families find ways to color their plates with more fruits and vegetables every day. Here's an example of the simple tips you'll find:

1. Follow the Leader. Be a role model when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.

2. Ask the Kids. Talk to your kids before doing the grocery shopping about what they like and don’t like. Bring them along to the store and let them pick out some of their favorite fruits and vegetables.

3. Follow the Rainbow. Encourage your kids to eat one fruit or vegetable daily from each of the five major color groups: red, yellow/orange, green, blue/purple white.

These and more tips are part of the Healthy Kids Challenge-CIGNA Mix 6 for Healthy Balance Toolkit, and can be downloaded as a handout called Colorful Plates: Helping Kids Eat Healthier. You may also like activities such as Fruit Face, Grocery Store Detective, and House Hunter, which can be found in the toolkit's Colorful Plates section.