How can employers—who bear about half of the health care costs in the U.S.—improve physical activity among individuals?
If you are looking for easy, healthy snack ideas that will appeal to kids and adults alike, you've come to the right place. Here are 30 no-prep and low-prep snack ideas to inspire you.
No Prep Snacks
- Whole fruit: grapes, apples, bananas, etc.
- Fruit salad: unsweetened canned fruit, snack cup, or do-it-yourself by mixing 1/2 cup of bite-sized fresh fruit (pineapple, melon, and berries, for example)
- Frozen fruit: 1/2 cup of berries, melon, etc.
- Dried fruit: 1/3 cup of raisins, dried apricots, etc.
- Applesauce: 1 snack cup (unsweetened)
- Nuts: 1/3 cup of almonds, peanuts, cashews, or mixed nuts
- Cheese: low fat string cheese, or 2 slices low fat cheese (such as Cabot Creamery)
- Yogurt: 1 sqeezeable low fat yogurt (such as Stonyfield Farm, Chobani), or 1 low fat yogurt container (6 oz)
Eating healthy means striving to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Here are 15 tips for eating more vegetables and fruits, without necessarily giving up other favorite foods.
- Keep chopped veggies in the fridge for snacks.
- Buy individually sized fruit servings (fruit cups, applesauce, sliced apples).
- Top any cereal with fruit.
- Add handfuls of frozen veggies to soups or noodles.
- Use yogurt as a dip with fresh fruit.
- Use low fat ranch dressing as a dip for veggies.
- Stuff celery with cream cheese or peanut butter.
- Make a fruit or veggie shish kebab.
- Add grapes or sliced apples to chicken salad.
- Stuff an omelet with diced tomatoes, spinach, or onions.
- Add berries or bananas to pancake batter.
- Fill half a cantaloupe with low fat cottage cheese.
- Choose dried fruit as a treat, rather than candy or cookies.
- Serve fresh fruit with cheese wedges as dessert.
- Grill skewers of pineapple, zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers.
When you think about ways to improve student achievement, does providing students with physical activity come to mind? It should. Active students have better concentration, fewer behavior problems, and higher performance on reading, writing, and math tests.
Image from Active Living Research’s “Active Education: Growing Evidence on Physical Activity and Academic Performance,” based on research by Dr. Charles Hillman, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
These two brain images, taken from the top of the head, represent the average amount of students’ neural activity during a test following sitting and walking for 20 minutes. The color blue represents lower neural activity, while the color red denotes higher brain activity in a given region. So students who walked prior to the test showed more brain activity.
Studies show that too many students spend too much time standing around in P.E. class. Innovative P.E. instructors are changing their curriculum to keep students active:
- Less emphasis on competitive team sports
- More emphasis on fun and lifetime fitness skills
- More focus on engaging all students, regardless of athletic ability
- Increased tracking of individual physical fitness with digital tools like FitnessGram
This isn’t your parents’ P.E. class. Trends in physical education include replacing rope climbs and kickball with:
School recess is a highly effective strategy for increasing physical activity among children, because it is a strategy that can reach every student every day. Because of that, all schools should adopt a “No Lost Recess” policy as part of their school wellness plans.
Here’s an example from one school’s recess policy:
- A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity shall be provided by schools for all K-8 students daily. This requirement can be achieved through activities such as recess, dance, classroom energizers, or other curriculum-based physical activity programs. However, this time should complement and not substitute for the physical education program.
- Structured/unstructured recess and other physical activity (such as, but not limited to, physical activity time, physical education, or intramurals) shall not be taken away from students as a form of punishment. In addition, severe and inappropriate exercise may not be used as a form of punishment for students.
Recess helps a child’s ability to process information, pay attention, and remain on-task, so it should not be taken away as a punishment for unwanted behavior or unfinished class work. In fact, the longer the stretch between recess breaks at school, the higher the inattentiveness among students.
It is impractical—and unnecessary—to completely eliminate candy this Halloween. Experts say moderation is the key. But do you know how to limit Halloween candy in our super-sized culture?
Here are some tips for healthy trick or treating, whether you're handing out Halloween candy at home or escorting your kids around the neighborhood.
At your home: portion size and candy alternatives
Don't give out supersize portions. A fun size or snack size candy paired with a healthier treat or toy is better than handfuls of candy.
Include healthier treats. Snack size pretzels, popcorn, trail mix, pre-packaged carrot sticks or apple slices, clementines, mini boxes of raisins, or granola bars—to name a few.
Consider small, inexpensive toys. Glow sticks, bouncy balls, crayons, coloring books or small notebooks, stickers, stamps, bubbles, plastic rings, toy animals or dinosaurs for imaginative play. These gifts are healthier for all children and may be best for children with food allergies. A teal pumpkin on your door can signal families that you have non-food items available.
Before you go trick-or-treating: prepare your kids
Eat a healthy dinner. Don't let kids go trick or treating on an empty stomach. They will eat less Halloween candy if they fill up on proteins, fruits, veggies and whole grains before they head out.
Choose the right bag. Kids can haul as much candy as their trick or treat bag allows, so leave the pillowcase at home. Choose a small bucket or bag instead.
Whether you’re traveling, pressed for time, or simply don’t want to cook at home, dining out is part of American culture. But how can you make healthy choices when faced with supersized restaurant portions of foods high in sodium, fat, and sugar?
Never fear. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to completely give up dining out. Here are 7 tips for how to eat healthy when eating out:
Cooler temperatures, colorful changing leaves, hayrides, and the fun of dressing up for Halloween are four excellent reasons for hosting a party this month. You don’t need to load the buffet table with baked sweets and candy. These three healthy Halloween ideas are anything but scary:
What comes to mind when we say, “Marketing food and beverages to children”? Go on, take a second and let some pictures pop into your head.
You thought of all the unhealthy stuff, didn’t you? The advertising campaigns that push sugary drinks with no nutritional value? Fast food? Cute talking animals that sell addictive crunchy things that stain your fingers orange?
What if we told you that you can use the power of marketing in the school lunchroom to improve kids’ eating habits? It’s proven:
- Moving and highlighting fruit on the lunch line increased sales by up to 102%.
- Naming vegetables and displaying the names with the foods made students select them 40-70% more often.
Here’s a look at 7 ways marketing can help you nudge students towards smarter choices at lunchtime: