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Your Toolbox for Fighting Childhood Obesity

With the Childhood Obesity Conference happening right now in Long Beach, CA, we thought it was a fitting time to address childhood obesity and some of the top ways to combat and reverse it. It’s no secret that the number of children in the US that are overweight or obese is overwhelming. And, to make it worse, that number is still growing at an astounding rate. But, the goal of the conference is to “Accelerate Progress”. So, what can we do to accelerate progress? As many of you remember from our last blog, we discussed some resources that are available to parents and educators to provide to children. Today, we wanted to provide some easy ways to teach health, nutrition and fitness to kids.

NCES MyPlate Lunch & Learn Placemat – Use at the breakfast/lunch or dinner table either at MyPlate Munch and Learn Placemathome or on the go. Designed specifically for kids, this placemat educates your child about the five major food groups while engaging their critical thinking skills as they work through the fun activities on the back.

EIEO Kids Tear pad

NCES EIEO tear pad – Use these handouts to help motivate kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity in daily.  It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.


Kids Portion PlateNCES Right-Sized Plate – With two designs, one for adults and one for kids, these colorful plates provide portioned sections for measuring out portions. This is great for kids so they can learn all about portion control by filling each section of their plate.daily.  It also helps children understand that what you eat has to balance with how much they exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Whiz, Zip, Zap Kids Cookbook

Whiz Zip and Zap cookbook – Get your kids in the kitchen to start cooking so they can see how fun it is. Summer is a greattime to engage your kids in activities like helping to cook family meals.   It has been proven that kids who participate in cooking with their parents or caregivers have healthier eating habits. This cookbook provides simple recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.

Scratch and Sniff Learning Cards for KidsScratch and Sniff Learning cards – These interactive scratch and sniff cards provide a fun way for kids to learn about and try new fruits and vegetables.  First, have them smell the card. Then, have them taste the actual fruit and vegetable to compare the scent and taste. They can also note what they liked most and least about the foods.

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Spring in to Picnic Day 2013

PicnicCan you think of anything more ideally perfect than an April picnic? I can’t! I’m sure that’s why tomorrow, April 23rd, is Picnic Day. However, many people don’t think of this perfect opportunity to get out, get some fresh air and enjoy a fresh, ‘springy’ meal. So, here’s our challenge to you: If you’re not already too busy today, take your lunch outside! Even if you just find a park bench or an open grassy space, odds are you can have the perfect picnic with the lunch you already packed. Or, if that’s not an option, take a few minutes to plan the perfect picnic for your family tonight or this weekend. Need a little help? Here are our top tips for packing the perfect picnic.

  1. Pack a well-balanced meal – This is important to remember when preparing any meal, especially for your children. Be sure to include a protein, grain, veggie, fruit and dairy. Tip: Freeze some mixed berries ahead of time. They’ll make a great dessert to satisfy their sweet tooth!
  2. Take plenty of H20 – Our bodies are composed of 60-70% water. Therefore, it is important that we consume plenty of H2O, especially when we’re active. Make it a goal that everyone consume 8 oz. of water each hour while you are out in the heat enjoying your picnic.
  3. Keep the cold stuff cold – Always remember food safety! To reduce the risk of sicknesses due to bacteria, cold foods need to remain cold throughout your trip.  For any non-perishable items, a picnic basket is great. However, you’ll need to keep the cold items in a cooler with ice. Tip: Reserve the bottom of the cooler for the cold items. They’ll stay cooler down there.
  4. Think about the extras – Of course you’ll need food on your picnic. But, what else do you need? A couple things to take would be bug spray and sun screen. Sunburns are still possible in the spring, even when the sun isn’t as hot.
  5. Take a long a good ground-cover – Don’t you want to be comfortable? Sometimes, grass can leave your legs a little itchy. A good ground cover will keep you clean, and itch-free.

If you’re someone who already enjoys the occasional picnic to soak up whatever sun you can, use this holiday as an opportunity to invite some friends on your picnic with you. Or, invite some of your neighborhood families to picnic at the park with you this weekend. So, enjoy Picnic Day 2013. And, don’t use it as the only day each year you picnic, instead use it to get in the habit of getting outside often!

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What’s Your Least Favorite Part of Grocery Shopping?

What do you dread most about going to the grocery store? Okay, besides trying to fight your way through the bakery section resisting all of the cakes, crème puffs and chocolate filled goodies! For me, it’s staying on budget. No matter how hard I try, sometimes it just doesn’t seem possible to stay on budget and feed my family foods that I know are wholesome and healthy. I’ve turned to coupon clipping at times. But, as Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!”

So, is it possible to raise a healthy family while sticking to a strict budget? The answer is Yes! But how? The first step is to set a budget. Using our new “Budget Friendly Shopping” (link) handout, you can use US National Averages and our budget calculating tool to identify the budget that best fits your family. This tool provides calculations for families of all sizes with children at any age. Using this tool, you can create a budget that is the best fit for your family.

After you know your budget, the next step is to plan your meals. Whether you plan by the week or month, creating a meal plan and sticking to it will help you stay on budget. As you create your meal plan, there are two things that we think are most important to remember. First, remember to include foods from each food group in every meal. The second is to remember appropriate serving sizes. Many times, extreme food costs are a result of preparing and consuming too much food.

Now that you have your meal plan complete, it’s time to make a grocery list and head to the grocery store. Remember to buy off brand whenever you can and try to purchase foods that are on sale while you are at the store.  If you’re familiar with grocery prices, try to estimate your grocery bill before you get to the checkout to make sure you’re staying on track. If you’ve not paid close attention to prices in the past, spend a few weeks learning about your new meal plan and budget to learn what foods you can include and which ‘pricier’ foods you may want to hold back on.

So, we’ve shared how to calculate your budget and how to create a meal plan. Do you still need more motivation to check out our new Budget Friendly Shopping handout? This should throw you over the top! We’ve also included a 1 week meal plan for a family of 4 for less than $170.

How do you feed your family on a budget? We love hearing from you, our readers. So, please share with everyone the tips that you find most effective for feeding your family healthy foods on a budget! You can share your thoughts here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter!

Budget Brochure Handout

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What Should a Family Fitness Plan Look Like?

ID-10034694There’s no denying the fact that exercising as a family is the key to raising children that understand the importance of physical activity. However, many families still struggle with how to pull it off. So, many families seek the help of professionals. When they come to you, of course you can design a fitness plan that will work for an individual client. But, where do you start when you’re helping a family design a fitness plan that will work for all of them?

Be sure that you include all of the family members. Discuss activities that everyone enjoys doing and be sure to let the children help decide on some of the exercises and activities that are included on the exercise plan. Giving the kids ownership in the program will help keep their interest and build their confidence in what they’re doing. Be sure to make it fun too. Although exercising is meant to increase your heart rate, it doesn’t have to be work all the time. Including fun, and even competitive games, will keep it interesting too.

Scheduling is also an important part of the equation when you’re helping an entire family plan their exercise schedule. Between Dad’s board meeting, Mom’s conference call and the kid’s basketball games and choir concerts, scheduling for a family is a nightmare. Work with your family to identify times that work for everyone. Then, help them create a calendar so that everyone knows exactly when to expect their family workout.

Planning an exercise plan for a family doesn’t differ that much for planning an individual schedule. However, there are certain elements that need to be included to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and learning that exercise is an important & FUN part of everyday life… not just another chore.

How do you help motivate children to exercise? We’d love to hear your ideas. Please share them here in the comments or on our Facebook. We love hearing from you!

If you’re looking for tools that make exercising at home easier, be sure to check out the NCES Exercise section before you go!

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2011 Is the Year YOU Will Stay Healthy for the Holidays!

Are you tired of saying ‘THIS is the year I will stay healthy for the holidays’, only to get consumed with all of the unhealthy habits that run rampant throughout the holidays? It can definitely be a frustrating experience. But, this is your year… we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you avoid unhealthy holiday habits and stay on the path to a healthier you!

  1. Cut the fat! Remember, there are so many substitutes you can use in your foods to cut the fat. In many recipes, you can replace oil with applesauce. Plus, it’s always a great idea to use egg substitutes instead of eggs.
  2. Continue to exercise! With all of the Christmas parties and family get-togethers, it is hard to keep your workout routine. But, find a buddy and commit to working out at least 4 times per week. You can help hold each other accountable.
  3. Don’t over indulge!  Who can resist the platefuls of homemade fudge, gallons of holiday Wassail and Santa’s cookies?  I know I can’t! The key is moderation… enjoy your favorite foods in healthy portions. And, if you do over indulge, be sure to make up for it in the gym! Remember the E.I.E.O theory, Energy In (food) needs to equal Energy Out (exercise).

Although we are pretty proud of this list, we understand that there are many other things you can do to stay healthy during the holidays! What do you do? We’d love to hear about your ideas for staying healthy this holiday so we can all start 2012 on a healthy foot! Share your thoughts here on the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter! Cant’ wait to hear from you!

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Right-Sizing Your Plate Made Easy

In today’s world, we all know how hard it is to find right-sized portions. From fast food chains to upscale dining restaurants, portions have grown out of control. Even at home, it’s hard to get a handle on proper portions because our idea of a proper portion is so skewed. That’s where we can help. Our dedicated, professional staff has developed hundreds of products, designed to educate people of ages about health and nutrition and teach everyone how to live a healthy, happy life!

 

One of the most user-friendly products we carry are our Right-Sized Portion Plates and Tearpads. Both are available for children and adults. Our children’s “Right Sized Portion Plate” tearpad is a colorful plate with fun food characters, designed to teach kids and their families the importance of filling their plates with healthy foods from each food group. The front of the tearpad depicts the difference between the size of the average American plate compared to the typical American plate. Along with tips for staying active and healthy.  The back of the tearpad gets children involved with an interactive chart to help them track their daily food and activity goals.

The right sized portion plate tearpad is also available for adults. This version is geared to teaching adults how to eat healthy and stay physically active.  The front illustrates the recommended American Plate versus the typical American plate. It also provides information on how these difference impact our health and wellness. The back covers portion control, healthy eating tips and the importance of physical activity, all for adults.

Both of these tearpads, and the plates they are designed after, are great resources for parents, teachers and nutrition education professionals. The colorful two-sided handouts are easy to read and understand.  The plates are interactive and make perfect portion control as easy as 1-2-3.

If you have any questions about the products listed above, or any other NCES products, contact us today.

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www.NCESCatalog.com
info@ncescatalog.com
800.NCES.BOOKS

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Staying Energized When You’re Stuck Inside

Okay, as the summer heat really settles in, it gets harder and harder to get outside. Not to mention, there are many safety concerns for both you and your children when it is too hot. The last thing you want is for the kids to get in the habit of watching movies or playing video games all day. So, what do you do? You find fun, interactive ways to entertain the whole family. Since helping your family stay active is what we do, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to do when we’re stuck inside. Here it is!

Play Twister: A game like Twister provides the structure of a board game. But, it gets everyone moving and stretching. It’s not only important to get active. It’s also important to stretch your muscles and keep them moving. You’re entire body will feel better!

Clean the house: I know this probably won’t sound that appealing to your kids.  But, there are ways to make it fun. First, make sure that the entire family gets involved. Then, turn on some active music and have everyone show off their best dance moves while they sweep, dust and scrub the bathroom. You never know, it could become one of your favorite family traditions.

Find a fun kids workout DVD: We’re all familiar with Jane Fonda tapes and Tae-Bo. But, now we have fun DVD’s that have been made just for kids. These DVD’s will get your kids moving and burning calories. All while they are having fun! Here are a couple to get you started.

1)      Up, Down and All Around    2)   Yoga for Kids

Let the whole family cook dinner: This one isn’t as much about being active as it is about engaging your little one’s brains and teaching them about nutrition. Getting them in the kitchen gets them away from the TV and gives you a great opportunity to teach them all about the food groups, healthy foods and how to build healthy meals.

These are just a few of our favorites. But, there really are a lot of ways that your family can stay active in the heat of the summer. If you need some more ideas, be sure to check out our website at www.ncescatalog.com or visit us on Facebook. Plus, you can always give us a call (800 NCES BOOKS) or chat live with our dietitian.