Yonkers Public Schools in association with the City of Yonkers, the Nepperhan Community Center, and the YMCA partnered with the New York State Center for School Health to embrace "Every Kid Heathy Week" this past April. This celebration of health and wellness highlighted some of the tremendous efforts being made by our schools to encourage daily nutrition at home, in school, and in the workplace, and the positive connection between nutrition, physical activity, and learning. We believe these practices are perfect all year round!
Here are some suggestions to do at home - modeled after what students and staff have done in school. Enjoy!
1. Be adventurous! Expand your tastes to enjoy a variety of foods. Make it a weekly goal to try a new fruit or vegetable – it may end up being one of your favorites!
2. Make it a goal today to eat the recommended number of servings from each food group, which is 6 servings of grains, 3 servings of vegetables, 2 of fruits, 3 of milk or other dairy foods, and 6 ounces of protein!
3. Get outside! Your body will get Vitamin D and other nutrients. So, spend some time outside in the sun, but don’t forget the sunscreen!
4. There are no good or bad foods, but some should be eaten more than others. The best way to make sure that you get a healthy, balanced diet is to eat a wide variety of foods each day!
5. Take your time and savor your food! Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating too quickly may cause you to eat too much.
6. Try not to skip meals, especially breakfast! Skipping meals puts stress on your body and slows down many processes that happen in your body.
7. The brain controls all you do, so take good care of it! Protect your brain and don’t forget to wear that helmet! Boost your brainpower by eating lots of healthy foods and getting a good night’s sleep.
8. Make it a habit to eat dinner with your family! Turn the TV off and use the time to talk with your family about how your day went and what you are learning at school.
9. Start your day with breakfast! Eating breakfast gets you going after a long night without food. It also helps you have energy at school. Easy breakfast ideas include a yogurt parfait with fruit or toast with peanut butter.
10. Sometimes you may not have time to eat a full breakfast before you leave for school. Having a glass of milk, cereal bar, piece e of fruit, or a cup of juice is a good way of grabbing something fast instead of skipping breakfast altogether.
11. Wake up to fruit! Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
12. Quick-fix foods like whole-grain cereal, string cheese, berries, yogurt, whole-wheat toast, mini bagels, and English muffins make grabbing breakfast a cinch!
13. Be Active! 60 minutes of physical activity every day is recommended for good health. Participate in classroom energizers and physical activity to get all your minutes in today.
14. Get a variety of physical activity. Balance between stretching, walking and resistance exercises. This will help you stay fit and can prevent injuries. Remember, 60 minutes of physical activity a day helps keep our hearts working properly and helps our muscles develop!
15. Do you have some extra time between classes? Take a longer route to class and include some stairs if you can! The extra exercise will get the blood flowing throughout your body and up to your brain, giving you more energy to concentrate during your next class.
16. Gather your friends and make a new game at recess every week! Recess is a great way to enjoy time with your friends, increase your energy after sitting in class, and get in some of the 60 minutes of exercise that you need each day!
17. It’s easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine. Walk, bike or jog to see friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator. Try to do these things for a total of 60 minutes every day.
18. Being active - whether in sports, dancing in your room, or taking a brisk walk - is the best way to feel good, look good, and give your body what it needs. Exercise is also a great stress reducer!
19. Skip the elevator and take the stairs! Small steps like this can make a BIG difference in helping your body stay strong and healthy.
20. Join an intramural, club or sports team at your school! This is a fun way to be physically active and enjoy time with classmates too.
21. Water is important for your body after any type of physical activity. Skip soda and sports drinks after exercising because they often contain sugars that can further dehydrate your body. Choose water first!
22. Drink up! When you’re playing hard, make sure to drink plenty of water. That way, you’ll be able to stay in the game.
23. It is important to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Water is the body’s most important nutrient – 2/3rds of our bodies are composed of water.
24. Water helps us digest and absorb food. Without water, we would not be able to process the foods we eat at all! Your body needs water, so drink up!
25. Do you need to drink more water? Bring a water bottle to school and sip on it throughout the day in class. Filling up a 24 ounce bottle 3 times each day will help you meet your daily water needs.
26. Many fruits and vegetables hold lots of water that can help you reach your water goals throughout the day. For example, iceberg lettuce is 95% water, cantaloupe is 91% water, and raw carrots are 88% water.
27. Water is important for your body after any type of physical activity. Skip soda and sports drinks after exercising because they often contain sugars that can further dehydrate your body. Choose water first!
28. Are you ready to take a fruit and veggie challenge? Try to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you currently eat every day for better health! Look in the cafeteria on [day of week, date] for free samples of fruits and vegetables.
There are five “color” groups and each has its own health benefits.
29. BLUE/PURPLE: Blue and purple fruits and vegetables have ‘phytochemicals’ that help with memory function and can even prevent some types of cancers. Foods in this category include: Blueberries, grapes, eggplant and purple cabbage!
30. GREEN: Green fruits and vegetables contain certain nutrients that help with strong bones and teeth, vision health and may lower the risk of some types of cancer. Foods in this category include: Kiwi, green apples, honeydew melon, green peppers, cucumbers and spinach!
31. WHITE: White, tan and brown fruits and vegetables are in this category. These foods help with heart health and can even prevent certain types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables that fit into this category include: Bananas, pears, white peaches, onions, watercress and cauliflower!
32. YELLOW/ORANGE: Yellow and orange foods are beneficial for a healthy heart, good vision and can help us keep us from getting sick, even preventing certain types of cancers. Fruits and vegetables in this category include: Grapefruit, lemons, pineapple, yellow peppers, butternut squash and carrots.
33. RED: Red fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that promote a healthy heart, memory function, and help protect against certain types of cancers. Fruits and vegetables that fit within the red category include: Red apples, cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, beets and tomatoes.
34. Most Americans think of beef, pork, and chicken when they think of protein. But did you know that peanut butter, soy, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, and beans are also great sources of protein? Ask your parents if you can try these other protein sources for dinner this week.
35. Eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week to add more healthy oils into your diet and more variety to your meals! Some great seafood options include tuna, salmon, tilapia, cod and shrimp.