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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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Don’t Get the Sugar Scares!

Halloween is here! The most dreaded holiday for dentists and dietitians across the country! But, it’s nothing a little education can’t fix, since the holiday has the potential to be a lot of fun for kids of all ages. All of the unique costumes give kids an opportunity to show off their creative abilities. Then, they go door-to-door ‘trick or treating’ for some sugary snacks! Many people have already begun changing this tradition by passing out more health conscious items, including stickers, granola bars and even fruit! But, how do you keep your kids safe from those ghouls and goblins that still pass out sickening sweet treats? We’ve put together a list of the top things to do with all that candy so your children don’t spend the entire month of November amped up on a sugar high. (As with everything, it’s important to remember that moderation is key! Don’t feel like you have to take it ALL away!)

  • Donate to your Dentist: Obviously, you don’t want to be that parent that gives away all of your children’s hard earned candy. So, have them set aside their absolute favorites. Then, find a local dentist who will trade you for the leftovers. Many dentists have items that they will trade your children for their candy.
  • Put it on Ice: Sit down with your kids and pick out all the chocolate. Then, throw it in the freezer. This way, your kids can enjoy their Halloween treats all year long! Throw away the rest… or you can always trade the dentist!
  • Take it to Work: Although no one person needs to be consuming all that sugar, spreading it out amongst your co-workers will keep your kids healthier. Plus, you’ll probably be a big hit around the office.
  • Sell It: There are many organizations out there that will purchase your leftover Halloween candy. Some of them even take what they purchase and send it to our troops so they can enjoy the sweet treats. Try searching your area for locations you can take your Halloween stash and sell it.

As you can see, there are many options for keeping all that candy out of your little one’s tummy. A little bit of Halloween fun can go a long way. So, be sure to take this opportunity to teach your children about healthy habits and using self-control when digging in to their tasty treats!

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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Super Foods

  1. Healthy cells, healthy you. “Super Foods” are foods that help your body create healthy cells, and help slow down the onset of many age-related diseases.
  2. High in what you need, low in what you don’t.  Super foods contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while being low in fat, sugars, sodium and calories.
  3. Don’t be fooled by fancy wording. When you see words like “enriched” and fortified” it may make those foods seem like super foods. They just mean that they’ve replaced or added vitamins and minerals that were either lost in processing or absent to begin with. Take the natural route when possible.
  4. There’s no single solution. You don’t need to eat specific foods to fight off specific diseases. A healthy diet consisting of a variety of super foods will help you maintain weight, fight disease, and live longer.
  5. Easy to include. By substituting or adding super foods to your diet, you can seamlessly introduce the benefits of this kind of diet into your life. Each change could add health and years onto your life.
  6. Know your super foods. Fruits like oranges, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple, or veggies like, broccoli, tomatoes, artichokes and carrots are great for you. If you eat whole grains like oatmeal or quinoa, or dairy like soy, egg whites or yogurt, you’ll get a great benefit from your diet. Proteins such as beans, salmon, walnuts or cashews are great for you, as well as some other foods like dark chocolate or tea.

NCES is your Nutrtion Expert. Look to www.ncescatalog.com or our catalog for hundreds of products that support good nutrition and healthy living.

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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Eating Veggies

  1. Green Veggies. Green vegetables can help protect your eyesight and reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Some good choices for green vegetables are: broccoli, romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts.  
  2. Red Veggies.  By eating red vegetables, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Some good choices for red vegetables are: tomatoes, radishes, red bell peppers.  
  3. Yellow Veggies. Having a good dose of yellow vegetables in your meals can help strengthen your immune system, due to the increased amounts of vitamin C in these plants. Some good choices for yellow vegetables are: yellow bell peppers, squash, yellow corn.
  4. Orange Veggies. With the eating of orange vegetables, you can help yourself maintain healthy skin and bones, and help with eye health. Some good choices for orange vegetables are: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes.  
  5. Purple Veggies. An interesting fact about purple vegetables is that they could help you guard your body from cancer. Some good food choices for purple vegetables are: eggplant, purple onions.  
  6. White Veggies. The advantages of eating white vegetables are reduced risk of heart attacks, and reduced risks of some cancers. Some good food choices for white vegetables are: mushrooms, onions, garlic, cauliflower, white potatoes.
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Where in the World is Your Cholesterol?

September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. That being said, where is your cholesterol coming from, and what can you do about it?
Saturated fat is one of the main sources of LDL cholesterol. Hiding in dairy products, red meats and oils, you can prevent a rise in your cholesterol numbers by avoiding cheese and ground beef, which are the two largest sources of saturated fat, according to Dietary Guidelines reports.
Another thing to avoid is trans-fat. This tends to be found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in fried and processed foods like baked goods and desserts. Make sure to read the label before you buy to see if you’re getting 0g trans-fat.
Some foods to avoid as much as possible for those watching their cholesterol: prime rib, coconut milk, dried coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cake donuts, ricotta cheese or ground beef.
How do you lower your cholesterol if it’s already high? Get some soluble fibers.  Things like cooked oatmeal, oat bran, avocados, broccoli, carrots, prunes, and sunflower seeds are all excellent sources of soluble fibers that can raise your HDL cholesterol levels and lower your LDL cholesterol.
Some other ideas:

  • Eat 6 to 8 small meals daily instead of 1 or 2 large meals.
  • 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day goes a long way.
  • Limit sugar and fructose intake.
  • Limit coffee drinks made without a paper filter.
  • Use sterol and stanol rich margarines and salad dressings.

For more information about cholesterol and tips for controlling your levels, check out our “Cholesterol: Control Your Numbers” Handout, Item # 4139 at www.ncescatalog.com or in our catalog.