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.
Full-time employees may consume half or more of their daily calories while at work. Can you encourage healthy eating while being a good host in the workplace? Of course you can—and these 8 tips for catering healthy meetings can help!
1. Avoid offering meals and snacks when it is unnecessary.
Doughnuts and other snacks are likely additional empty calories for most employees, not a replacement for their usual meal or snack. If a meeting is expected to last roughly an hour or less, don't provide any food at all. Offer water, coffee, and unsweetened tea instead.
You don't need a big budget to make your worksite a healthy place for staff and visitors. Here are some budget-friendly—and effective—employee wellness program ideas.
Start a walking group
Walking has many benefits. It reduces risks for coronary heart disease and stroke; improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profiles; enhances mental health; and reduces risks of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
Walking during the work day may have more immediate benefits. Physical activity has been linked to improved concentration, better memory recall, faster learning, enhanced creativity and reduced stress—all of which lead to better job performance. So why not round up a group of co-workers and walk together?
Local spotlight: American Structurepoint helps employees eat healthy with free fruit, nutrition workshops
Pop into the break room at American Structurepoint, Inc., on a Monday afternoon, and you’ll likely find employees snacking on fresh apples, pears, bananas—even kiwi—courtesy of the company.
The architecture and engineering firm on Indianapolis’ northeast side gets produce from local company Green BEAN Delivery each week and makes it available to staff at no charge as one component of its employee wellness program.
“I get notified when the delivery arrives and head to the break rooms to set everything out in baskets and crates,” says Jessica Anderson, co-chair of American Structurepoint’s Employee Wellness Committee. “Then I check on it once a day—condense containers, pull out anything that has over ripened—until it’s all gone. It’s usually gone by Wednesday or Thursday.”
Many young children are picky eaters who prefer to eat simple, familiar foods—perhaps at home and in child care. They may refuse foods based on color or texture, or play at the table and not want to eat.
While picky eating is common in ages 2-5, this is also an important time that shapes lifelong eating habits. Try responding to picky eating behavior in a positive way to help children move through this temporary phase with healthy attitudes and a hunger for variety. These tips can help:
- Introduce only one new food at a time. Serve a well-loved food along with the new food.
- Put a small portion of the new food on children's plates so it doesn't feel overwhelming.
- Transition to new foods or ingredients slowly. Instead of going directly from whole milk to fat-free, serve 2% for a few weeks, then 1% before finally arriving at fat-free milk. Mix plain yogurt with fruit-sweetened varieties, then add fresh fruit, until kids become accustomed to a full serving of plain yogurt and fresh fruit.
Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all about candy and sweets. If you're planning to celebrate Valentine's Day in your home, classroom, or child care, take advantage of the opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ideas:
Healthy Snacks and Treats to Love
Fruit & Vegetable Bouquet
Use heart and flower-shaped cookie cutters to cut fresh fruits and vegetables such as melon and bell peppers. Place them on green skewers and arrange them into a bouquet. Tie together with red or pink ribbon. Students may enjoy with low-fat yogurt, hummus, salsa, or low-fat ranch dressing.
Create healthy sandwiches using whole grain bread and strawberry fruit spread. Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out mini heart sandwiches.
Valentine's Day Taste Test
Host a taste test at your party using red fruits and vegetables. Pomegranate, cranberries, apples, blood oranges, raspberries, red peppers and cherry tomatoes are great options. Have students vote on their favorite red fruit and vegetable.
We often do not think about how much sugar we get from what we drink. Sugary drinks don't fill us up as quickly as food does, so it's easy to take in more than we need.
5 Alternatives to Sugary Drinks
1. Water—Add lemon or cucumber for flavor, or experiment with these recipes.
2. Sparkling water with natural flavors
3. Unflavored seltzer water with a slice of lemon and a splash of 100% fruit juice
4. Unsweetened iced tea with lemon slices
5. Coffee— black or with a little milk
Tips for Cutting Back
On some days, sugary drinks are hard to avoid entirely. Here are some tips to help you cut back on how much you drink:
2016 Year in Review - part one in a series of four
The new year brings the opportunity to pause and reflect on 2016 and our progress in reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. In this series of four Year in Review stories, we summarize some of our most significant accomplishments to date.
Jump IN’s mission is to promote policies and practices that create healthy environments where families and children have real opportunities to make healthy choices and engage in healthy behaviors.Much of Jump IN’s work is grounded in this fact:
Changing the environment is the best way to change behaviors.
Research shows that if healthy nutrition and physical activity policies can be implemented in the places where children and families spend most of their time, their health will likely improve. Here’s how we helped schools, child care centers, worksites, and family homes embed healthy nutrition and physical activity policies and practices in 2016:
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.