Kids across Australia have stopped asking mum what’s for dinner as the latest nutrition education from Nestlé’s Healthy Active Kids helps them to know what should go on their plate.
The Healthy Active Kids (www.healthyactivekids.com.au) program is a partnership between Nestlé and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). Established in 1999, the program aims to raise awareness of nutrition, health and wellness and promote physical activity among primary school age children.
Nutritionist and health educator from the University of Sydney, Professor Jennifer O’Dea independently reviewed the effectiveness of the Healthy Active Kids program, as well as undertaking ongoing professional development with teachers.
“Kids love talking about food. I’ve never met a child who didn’t like to talk about what they eat, and this review shows that kids are really eager to learn about food and nutrition,” she says.
Professor O’Dea’s review found that of the students who participated in the program, up to 90 per cent reported having changed their eating habits because of what they learned in class, and more than 75 per cent of students tried to eat foods from the five food groups each day.
“It’s really exciting to see the lessons they’re learning in the classroom are being taken home. For example, kids are telling their parents what they’d like to see on their plates, and even teaching them how to read food labels.”
According to Professor O’Dea, over 50 per cent of the children shared dietary information with their families; and this link between school and home is at the crux of a good health education program.
“The connection between school and home is even stronger because this program is available online – it’s very accessible to the teachers, parents and the children in class. Parents are being encouraged to use recipes from the program, pick produce from the school veggie garden, or pick up analysis of their own diet; that way the parents are learning as well.”
Based on State and Territory curriculums for Health and Physical Education, Healthy Active Kids is an interactive teaching resource that builds on a 16 year partnership between the AIS and Nestlé. It includes more than 80 lesson plans, videos, worksheets, handouts and online games and quizzes.
About 360,000 Australian children participated in the Nestlé Healthy Active Kids online program last year.
“With access to the right information, it’s great to see children making their own decisions about health and nutrition. Whether it’s learning to drink more water or incorporating the five foods into their diet – it’s laying the foundation for a healthier next generation,” Professor O’Dea says.
She says parents should ask their child’s teacher if the school is participating in the Healthy Active Kids program.
TIPS FOR PARENTS AND CARERS
Healthy eating gives kids the energy they need for their busy days. Here are some great ways to make it easier.
1. Breakfast is important: It can be up to 12 hours since their last meal, so kids need to refuel for the day ahead. Give them healthy choices like cereal and reduced sat milk, toast, fresh fruit, eggs on toast, juice and reduced fat yoghurt.
Water works: Get kids into the habit of drinking water to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
2. Snack smart: Encourage your kids to take an interest in their health early in life by planning their own healthy snacks – this will help them look for a healthy diet when they get older.
3. Get cooking: Food is not just about good nutrition; it’s one of life’s great pleasures. Transform your kids into young cooks – even young children can help peel carrots, pod peas, great cheese, put together tacos or design their own healthy pizza toping. If they’ve helped make it, they’ll be more likely to enjoy eating it.
4. Slow and steady: Encourage them to eat slowly. This prevents overeating and helps them recognize when they’re full.
5. Eat at the table: Eating snacks and meals sitting down at the table or kitchen bench instead of in front of the TV is good habit for the whole family.
6. Get a balance: Variety and balance are the key to helping a child enjoy a healthy diet. Aim to eat a variety of foods each day (this depends on the age of the child) including fruit, vegetables, breads and cereals, lean meat or fish and reduced fat dairy products.
7.Tasty exploration: Encourage kids to try different food. Exposure to lots of different tastes and flavours adds excitement to meals.
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FUN WAYS TO GET ACTIVE
1. Whether it’s playing with friends or family, or taking part on sports and other physical activities, being active is good for everyone.
2. Handy action toys: Keep a football, basketball or tennis ball handy to grab on your way outdoors for an easy 20 minutes of fun.
3. Have fun: Sounds simple but the basic rule is that sport and activity should be enjoyable.
4. Enjoy variety: Encourage kids to try a range of sports and activities to develop a range of skills and find one or two that they really like.
5. Take the lead: Kids take their cues from their parents – so make activity a regular part of your family routine.
6. Join a local club: It’s a great way to kids to get fit, have fun and meet new friends. Who knows, you could have a future top athlete on your hands.
7. Try something new: Develop a new family activity such as indoor rock climbing, bike riding, skiing or sailing.
8. Leave the car behind: Leave the car behind and introduce kids to the way we all once got around – walking or riding bikes with them.
9. Find a balance: Help kids find their own balance of friends, physical activities, indoor play and homework with unstructured play such as daydreaming, creating, thinking and reading.
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Looking for a local convenient way to get your kids active these School Holidays?
Elite Fit Kids Cronulla Holiday program is on again.
Contact the staff via this link for more details …
Media provided by [Impact Communications Aust.]