September Behavior Tracking Sheet

We continue our series promoting healthy behaviors to be implemented and tracked for an entire month (and hopefully beyond). In September, in celebration of Fruits and Veggies – More Matters Month, the behavior to implement is to eat more fruits and veggies. It’s important to make fresh fruits and vegetables easily accessible for kids to grab when they are looking for snacks. Studies show that eating at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day increase your chances for a long and healthy life! To assist with the increased fruit and veggie consumption, you can download and print your free September Behavior Tracking Sheet and use in your home, summer camp setting, or childcare center to encourage and track behavior change.

Watch as Hardy Heart and the Guys sing about eating five fruits and vegetables a day:

 

Eat more fruits and veggies this month and all year long!

Family Bike Ride

Since 2010, the month of September is dedicated to National Childhood Obesity Awareness. The aim is to spread the word by promoting healthy eating and the importance of physical activity all month long (and of course beyond). Offering guidance on the types of foods kids are eating and balancing their diet with enough physical activity expenditure is key to this childhood obesity fight. Energy balance is what it is all about!

So, we challenge you and your family to join the fight against childhood obesity during the month of September. Here are some ways your family can be involved if you choose to accept the challenge:

  • Family Fitness Challenge – Set a physical activity goal for each member of your family. Whether it be 5 situps or 10 pushups a day, create a chart that holds everyone accountable. Let each family member select a reward (non-food!) ahead of time and the family can motivate and compete for top of the chart at the end of the month. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!
  • Food Taste Tests – Commit to introducing your kids to a new fruit or veggie each day or week of the month. Take them to the grocery store and let them pick them out. You never know which tasty fruit or veggie may jump to the top of their favorites list!
  • Post-Dinner Family Outings – Incorporate a family walk or bike ride into your nightly routine, even if it’s just a quick 10-15 minutes. These short increments can add up over time and it is a great way to catch up with each other amidst our busy schedules.
  • Weekend (Active)ities – Plan a fun family outing such as a hike or day at the park where you bring a healthy picnic and a soccer ball or football to play with. This is another great way to get in some bonding time while also being healthy!
  • Fruit for Dessert? – Each night this month, instead of that ice cream for dessert, offer the kids fruit or some variation. Eventually their taste buds may opt for this sweet treat over the ice cream (we can hope, right?). Try this tasty berry smoothie recipe for a healthy dessert alternative.
  • Turn off technology– Implement a nightly “no technology” rule for the month. In the evenings, put on some of the kids’ favorite tunes and have a dance party instead! We are sure that you can survive!
  • Spread the Word – Share your ideas and find out what others are doing this month by using #ChildObesity across social media. Also, challenge another family to commit to a month of healthy eating and physical activity promotion!

Click here for more information, ideas or resources to promote National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

involve kids in meal planningKids typically like to be involved in everything. In many cases, at a certain age, they also like to do everything on their own. Sound familiar? One positive way to use this excitement and eagerness to help is to involve kids in meal planning. What better way to start a conversation about healthy eating and also to encourage making healthy food choices, then by letting the kids help with the decision making? Win-win in our opinion.

Give kids several dinner options and let them pick which they want. Once meal time comes around, let them help with the prep work and also then the clean up! Just like Calci M. Bone, there can be one night a week where the kids are responsible for dinner (with a little assistance from the adults of course).

Make sure and download the coloring sheet for today to see what Calci M. Bone chooses for her Monday night dinner and to involve kids in meal planning:

 

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The long Labor Day weekend is ahead of us and with that comes gatherings filled with friends, family, food, and FUN! Keep your celebrations healthy with some of our favorite cookout-worthy recipes. We have provided some recipes for Labor Day, most which include various foods of the month for August and September, for each course.

Try these recipes for Labor Day festivities:

tomato caprese

Tomato Caprese Salad

 

stuffed peppers

Caprese Stuffed Peppers

 

Summer Squash Veggie Wraps Summer Squash Veggie Wraps

 

peach hot dog

Peach Hot Dog

 

ww mac and cheese copy

Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese (for the kids!)

 

apple pie wraps

Whole Wheat Apple Pie Wraps

 

Grilled Peach Cobbler

Grilled Peach Cobbler

 

So what are you planning to do this Labor Day Weekend! Keep it healthy and safe!

 

USA Today Back to School Magazine

 

Back to school has been the primary focus these last few weeks and to continue with that theme, we thought we would suggest you check out the USA Today: Back to School Magazine. You can get the scoop on the latest snacks, clothing and products, along with some great articles to get you back in the swing of things.

If you run into our ad inside, you will be able to download your FREE back to school activity book! Read the online edition for these great articles and resources.

Happy reading and happy back to school!

 

USA Today Back to School Insides

school lunch prep

Tired of packing lunches for your kids every night/morning? We have the solution for you! Enlist your eager little helpers to get involved in school lunch prep to save you time (and sanity). When kids are involved in the lunch-making process, they’re more likely to take ownership in their food choices, resulting in a higher success rate of eating it all!

Here are five helpful ways that kids can help with school lunch prep:

  • Plan weekly meals – To ensure success, take 15-20 minutes to plan the weeks’ meals (including lunch and snacks), create a shopping list, hit the grocery store and you’re set.
  • Shop with a mission – Get supplies to make 5 main lunches so the kids have options. For example, get ingredients for turkey and low-fat cheese, peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat, etc. plus fruit/veggies and other healthy snacks.
  • Prep and Portion Foods – Wash, cut and ration fruits and veggies into small containers ahead of time. Put other healthy snacks such as pretzels, peanuts, whole wheat crackers, etc. into baggies and store together in pantry. This will save time and offer healthy selections for the kids.
  • Schedule lunch prep times – Set an evening time slot for each child, where they can quickly put their lunch together. This will eliminate any potential kitchen bickering sessions between kids.
  • Follow up – Check the lunches to ensure they are in fact creating healthy and balanced meals. When you see that they are doing a good job, you can feel good knowing they are making healthy choices for themselves!

Giving kids the chance to decide what they feel like having for lunch AND the opportunity to pull it all together, they learn to make smart decisions and be self-sufficient. Win-win, for sure!

 

Hardy preparing kids for tests

With back to school comes plenty of homework to be done and tests to be taken. It’s important that kids realize their performance results on tests have a big impact on their future.

Preparing kids for tests and how to properly study for them is very valuable. Today specifically, Hardy Heart is talking about spelling tests. He emphasizes making sure to go over and over the spelling words before the test to ensure kids are confident going into the test. Confidence and practice is key in preparing kids for tests.

Download the coloring and activity sheets focused on preparing kids for tests:

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benefits of family mealtimeThis time of year especially, families are on-the-go and constantly busy. Quality time spent together as a family can be challenging to find. Between homework, afterschool activities, prepping lunches, making dinner and bedtime, time is hard to come by. This is why it is so important to make time for that all-important family meal as often as possible. The time spent together becomes invaluable!

Here are 5 benefits of family mealtime:

  • Communication 

This is a time where the kids will be minimally distracted and willing to chat. Ask them about their school day; What did they eat for lunch? Who did they play with? What activities did they partake in? This may be the only time you can get a daily recap. Here are 10 mealtime conversation starters to help you initiate that important dialogue.

  • Planning

Talk about some exciting things your kids would like to do and discuss what fun things everyone has coming up on the calendar, such as sporting events or birthday parties. Give them things to look forward to.

  • Food bonding

If you have little ones, start a contest to see who can eat the most veggies on their plate. Talk about the importance of eating these healthy foods. This creates a little bit of fun, friendly competition within the family and promotes healthy eating. Win-win!

  • Share responsibilities

This is a good time to encourage helping out around the house. If you incorporate chores into the kids routines, helping to set the table and clean up the dishes and kitchen are great ones to add to the list.

  • Family values

Mealtime, whether it be breakfast or dinner, offers a unique opportunity to connect in a relaxed environment while emphasizing that family time is important and valued. The table becomes a routine place where kids can expect togetherness and fun.

So, during this busy time of year, make sure to fit in some of that precious family time when you can!

What mealtime traditions does your household follow?

With all this back to school talk, we thought it would be a great time to bring back this post where we shared some proper hygiene techniques for your OrganWise Gal or Guy dolls. You’ve probably never thought that your sweet little OrganWise Guy or Gal may need a little bit of a cleaning. In the past, we’ve had people ask us how to clean the doll and the organ beanies housed inside, but have definitely never had anyone send us their OrganWise doll bath pictures!

OrganWise Doll Spa DayLast year, we were both thrilled and tickled to get this email from Roger Steinbrock from the City of Lawrence in Kansas. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and appreciate his efforts to get kids healthy in the parks in Lawrence. We asked him to share with us exactly what they did to clean their Mr. Organ (as they call him). Here is what he said:

“We just got a bowl with a little bit of soap (we’ve used Woolite in the past). Today we used a little bit of dish soap and washed him and wrung him out as best we could, letting him air dry the rest of  the way. The water actually gets pretty dingy – more than you’d ever believe. This was the first time we included Mr. Organ in the wash and I’m glad we did!”

Sounds like Mr. Organ has been quite busy playing in the parks this summer! Thank you Roger for sharing your tips to make sure your OrganWise Guy and Gal (and their insides) stay clean and healthy.

 

Pepto Peer PressureOne thing is for certain about kids, and really adults, too, and that is they we all want to feel like we belong. This starts from a young age, where kids deal with making decisions that may not always be smartest ones, but are the most “popular” according to their peers. As kids get older peer pressure is something that they are bound to face. They will be faced with issues big and small, and it is so important to teach them from a young age how to make smart decisions without being influenced by their peers. See how Pepto, the stomach experiences some peer pressure from a friend and what he does to resolve it.

Download the coloring sheet today to begin a conversation about peer pressure with kids:

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Good Luck!