Healthy Ideas for Middle and High School Students April 2009 ™ Chesterfield County Public Schools Food & Nutrition Services FAST TAKES Healthy fundraising The next time your child’s school, team, or club wants to hold a fundraiser, suggest a healthy alternative to cookie or candy sales. For example, they could host a fitness activity, such as a skate-a-thon or a kickball tournament. Did You Does your child know that how he shops and eats not only affects his health—it affects the planet? Celebrate Earth Day this month with these ways for eating nutritiously and helping the environment at the same time. Eating greener Walking 10,000 steps a day is a great way to work exercise into your family’s routine. And it’s easier than you think—a few extra steps here and there really add up. Consider getting pedometers for each family member, and see who walks the most steps in a week. Note: You can find low-cost pedometers at a sporting goods store or online by googling “pedometer.” Know ? Buy locally When you go to the grocery store, have your teen or tween look for signs for locally grown items. On weekends, visit a farmers market for a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and homemade breads. (Enter your zip code at www.localharvest.org to find one nearby.) Buying from local farmers saves fuel by eliminating long-distance shipping of food—and it helps farmers stay in business. Plant a garden Encourage your child to eat — and enjoy — healthy foods by suggesting that he grow them himself. He can start by planting vegetables like radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans. He might get hands-on advice by offering to help relatives or neighbors with their gardens. Or he could ask the school librarian to suggest a book on gardening or look online for step-by-step instructions. Open lunch Encourage your teen to stay at school for lunch even if her high school has an “open lunch” policy that allows kids to go off campus. Cafeteria lunches will include healthier choices than fast food—and probably cost less, too. Plus, it’s safer to stay on school grounds than to drive with friends at lunchtime. Label detective Reduce packaging Cut back on waste whenever possible. Have your youngster store leftovers or pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers. Set an example when you shop for groceries —buy bulk items (a large jar of applesauce instead of individual cups, a big box of crackers rather than snack-size bags). When you and your child shop, take along canvas bags instead of using plastic or paper bags. Just for fun Q: Why was the centipede always late for soccer practice? A: It took him too long to put on his shoes. It takes a careful eye to choose healthy foods. Teach your teen to read ingredient lists with these tips: l Look for healthy ingredients at the top of the list — the closer to the top, the more there is of it. When buying bread, for instance, find packages with whole grains (whole-wheat flour, oatmeal) listed first. And beware of foods listing sugar, oil, or salt first or second. l Select foods with a short list of easy-to-pronounce ingredients. This usually means the food contains fewer preservatives and artificial additives. l Watch out for “hidden” ingredients. Your child may not know, for example, that corn syrup, cane juice, and dextrose are forms of sugar. And partially hydrogenated oils are trans fats, which she will want to avoid. © 2009 Resources for Educators, a division of Aspen Publishers, Inc. Teen Food & Fitness™ April 2009 • Page 2 n A family effort Is your youngster trying to shed some pounds? She’ll be more successful if the whole family tries to eat better and exercise more. Limit junk-food eating by keeping cookies and candy out of the house. Also, help everyone control portions by making it a family policy not to eat out of a box or bag and to eat only in the kitchen. n Turn exercise into a family activity. Go for bike rides or work out side by side at home or at the gym. When one of you reaches a weight-loss milestone, celebrate with an active family outing (batting cages, driving range). n Remind your child that losing weight isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. If she drinks a soda or skips a workout, the whole day isn’t “ruined.” Instead of giving up, encourage her to pick right back up. Note: Before your teen starts a weight-loss plan, schedule an appointment with her doctor. Frisbee fun Q: What weighs only a few ounces, costs just a few dollars, and can be played with friends or dogs? A: Frisbee! Freestyle Keep Frisbees at home and in the car for pickup games with family and friends. Or take your dog to a park and teach him to catch a Frisbee. Fore! Play Frisbee golf—“teeing off” from designated spots and aiming for a goal. Score one point for each toss. Low score wins. Find a Frisbee golf course at a local park, or make your own with hula hoops or trashcan lids as goals. Ultimate Take Frisbee to a more competitive level by joining an Ultimate Frisbee team. Your teen’s school might have one, or your local recreation department may sponsor a league. The game is a little like football, with teams scoring by catching the Frisbee in their opponents’ end zone. O U R P U R P O S E To provide busy parents with practical ways to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity for their children. Resources for Educators, a division of Aspen Publishers, Inc. 128 N. Royal Avenue • Front Royal, VA 22630 540-636-4280 • firstname.lastname@example.org www.rfeonline.com Teen Food & Fitness™ is reviewed by a registered dietitian. Consult a physician before beginning any major change in diet or exercise. Recently, we found ourselves ordering pizza or Chinese food more and more often because I didn’t have time to shop or cook. We knew it was an unhealthy habit — and it was getting expensive!— so we came up with this idea. On Sunday mornings after breakfast, we plan our meals for the week. I write down everyone’s requests and use their ideas to make a grocery list. Then, we go shopping. We’ve found that shopping once a week — rather than stopping at the store after school or work to grab a forgotten item — has cut down on cost. It also keeps us from buying extra snacks and treats. We don’t always stick to the menu 100 percent. But if I work late and order pizza, at least we have the ingredients to whip up a salad on the side. And then we try to eat a healthy home-cooked dinner the next day. PARENT Planning TO PARENT meals In the K tchen Shake a salad These portable salads are quick and easy to prepare. Your teen can put the ingredients in a container, seal the lid, and shake. Note: Suggest that he carry the dressing on the side in an empty spice jar or other small container. Mixed greens Toss field greens with avocado chunks, tomato slices, green beans, and sesame seeds. Dressing: low-fat honey mustard or ranch. Mediterranean blend Drain a can of chickpeas and toss with diced onions, cucumber slices, black olives, and cherry tomatoes. Dressing: light balsamic vinaigrette. Squash salad Microwave chunks of squash (pre-cut or frozen) until soft. Combine with spinach, pecans, canned pinto beans, and cooked brown rice. Dressing: low-fat Thousand Island. ISSN 1935-8865 © 2009 Resources for Educators, a division of Aspen Publishers, Inc.