School Wellness Fair

Often at health fairs people don't want to stop or stay long at nutrition displays because we're not providing any type of screening, nor giving out candy!

So, we came up with the idea of having a mini-exercise course at children's health fairs. We chose 3 activities: jump rope, hula hoop, and an exercise wheel which each child spins to determine the 3rd exercise (choices are 5 jumping jacks, running in place for 10 seconds, touch toes 5 times, etc.). Upon completing the "course" we award them a pretty certificate which says Congratulations! You have successfully begun to be more active, with location, date and an exercise graphic printed on it. The children loved it and we had them standing in line to take their turn. So, while they are waiting their turn, we talk about our healthy foods display.

Peggy M. Walker, MS, RD, LD

Nutrition & Food Safety Area Agent

MississippiStateUniversity Extension Service

School wellness idea

Ann A. Hertzler, Ph D, RD, LDN, noted that it is now the 400 year anniversary since Jamestown. She came up with some fun school wellness activities for nutrition and food:

• Find children’s books about water, food, and nutrition focusing on Indians, English settlers, and other Culturally Diverse groups. Include info from www.choosemyplate.gov. Children can read books about families, the food they eat, where food comes from.

Compare similarities and differences from then and now.

• Scurvy was the disease of sailors and explorers who lacked fruits and vegetables in their diets for months on end. In the 1700s, James Lind discovered limes prevented scurvy; in the 1900s, scientists discovered Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables prevented scurvy. Read about early explorers & disease. Read books about dark green (spinach, broccoli) and orange vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes) and fruits that the Indians and English settlers ate in Jamestown. Name vegetables and fruits: tell colors, shapes, and textures; and how they grow. Explain that the nutrition-related diseases we have now are more related to excess intake of calories and lack of exercise: heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

• Ask what fruits and vegetables“early families” ate? Do you eat these foods? Here are some recipes:

Salad Recipe: With clean hands, wash greens; break, tear and toss in a salad.

Recipe: Berry Berry Smoothie - Combine 1 part berries, 1 part chilled vanilla yogurt, and 1 part mashed banana. Mix together.

Recipe: Orange Pieces. Peel skin from an orange. Pull the sections apart. Eat as a snack.

Recipe: Squash or sweet potatoes. Children scrub; bake in the microwave. Adult supervision required. Talk about how these were baked in the hearth in the early days.

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