Did you know that simple marketing and presentation strategies can affect the number of fruits and vegetables that students eat? Here are some Smarter Lunchroom strategies that encourage students to eat more fruits and vegetables:
Focus on Fruit
Offer at least two different kinds of fruit
Think beyond apples, bananas, and oranges. Smarter Lunchrooms expose students to a wide variety of fruits, including grapes, watermelon, mandarin oranges, peaches, berries, and kiwi. Fresh, frozen, dried, and canned are all equally nutritious.
Kids who cook and assist with meal preparation eat healthier foods. Start young. Preschoolers love helping in the kitchen, and even infants and toddlers can get involved.
- Clean vegetables and fruits
- Wash and rip lettuce and other greens
- Tear bread into smaller pieces
- Deliver shatterproof tableware to the table
A healthy diet keeps your child’s body and mind functioning at their best. For young athletes, healthy eating is essential to maintaining energy and focus for practice and games as well as replenishing nutrients afterwards.
Before you head to the drive-thru or pack sweet treats and Gatorade for the team, check out these simple, healthy alternatives for healthy eating before and after sports:
Before Practice and Games
Sports practice sometimes conflicts with the usual family meal time, but you’ll want to feed your child before heading over to the field. Healthy carbohydrates are a smart choice to give kids energy. If kids are eating roughly an hour before playing, include some protein to help keep them from getting hungry again too soon. Examples:
- Whole wheat crackers
- Popcorn (plain, no butter or additives)
- Peanut butter sandwich with banana
- Yogurt cups or tubes with fruit and/or granola
- Grapes and cheese
Some healthy foods can actually upset stomachs when kids are active. Avoid vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers right before games and practices.
We're in the habit of celebrating with food—usually sweets and candy with lots of empty calories. But it's easy to rethink how you party in the classroom or at day care when you're equipped with fun alternatives that kids love. We've got 15 fun and healthy school celebration ideas to help!
Why healthier classroom celebrations?
Why does your school or child care center need a healthy school celebrations policy that extends to birthdays, holidays, and special events? "A birthday is just once a year," we might think—but if you have 25 or more student birthdays, and add in Halloween, winter break, Valentine's Day, the 100th day of school, the last day of school...you can easily accumulate 7 full weeks of sugary treats!
Many local restaurants offer convenient and affordable delivery options for "catering" a lunch event at the office. If your workplace relies on this type of food service, the following tips can help everyone eat healthier.
Choose buffet style over boxed lunches
Boxed lunches typically include a sandwich, chips, dessert, and a piece of fruit. Limiting selection in this way often means that individuals eat larger portions than they'd choose for themselves. Plus, colleagues that don't like the featured fruit get no fruit at all.
Buffet style, on the other hand, usually offers enough variety for everyone to find something healthy they like to eat and enables colleagues to control their own portion sizes.
Makers of sports drinks and energy drinks brag about the beverages' benefits, but physicians and other scientists tell a different story.
Save your money, drink water
"Sports drinks" are flavored beverages that contain carbohydrates (usually sugar—like 18 teaspoons of it) and eletrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Ads claim to help athletes rehydrate and replace important nutrients lost through sweat better than water does. Popular brands include Gatorade and Powerade.
"Energy drinks" claim to increase energy, aid weight loss, and improve concentration. Popular brands include Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar.
But the truth is that few of us actually need sports drinks, and energy drinks are outright dangerous for children and teens. To save money and promote good health, drink water instead.
Lots of us express a desire to "be healthier," and to "raise healthy children," but what does that mean, exactly? Health and wellness tips may be widely available, but sometimes they feel contradictory and confusing. How do you know which sources to trust?
Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Language shapes lifelong attitudes, eating behavior
Caregivers play a major role in helping children develop healthy eating habits. "Caregivers" includes parents/guardians, grandparents, child care providers, teachers, and others who interact regularly with children at meal time.
What we say about food and eating significantly impacts kids' eating habits. Positive messages about food and eating will help children develop healthy habits.
Here we present examples of phrases that help develop healthy eating habits, as well as the phrases to avoid. Replace the negative statements in each example with the positive ones.
Eating family style meals and snacks is recognized as a best practice in child care settings of all types—large, small, in-home, preschool, daycare, etc. Family style is all about children and supervising adults sharing a meal together, with children encouraged to serve food themselves.
Caregivers place enough food on the table to allow each child and adult to take the full regulatory portion of food required by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or State Licensing Rules. Children are allowed to choose how much of each food they serve themselves, or if they will take any of the food at all.
Family style meals help children try new foods by allowing them to feel in control of their eating. Supervising adults can encourage healthy eating habits by role modeling them.