Learn Healthy

PARENTS

cookYour child’s success is not just up to the school. Stay involved, join forces with other parents, and talk to your child about healthy habits at home and at school.  Check out the resources at Parents for Healthy Kids! Here are a few resources to help you and your students!

1. Walking to School

2. How to pack a healthy lunch, healthy school and after-school snacks!

3. Healthy Fundraisers

4. Healthy School Celebrations

1. WALKING TO SCHOOLkidsrun

Do you hate waiting in the traffic for drop-off and pick-up? Do you wish you didn’t have to wait for the bus?  Could your student walking or riding a bike to school? It’s healthy for your child and saves money. If it seems far, or you need help with supervision, consider developing a walking school bus where different families can join forces to help students walk to school safely!

Fire Up Your Feet is a core program of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.  This website provides a full range of age-appropriate resources and educational materials to encourage physical activity to, from and at school. Any school or PTA group in the country can utilize these resources. Fire Up Your Feet fundraising provides PTAs and school groups a healthy, easy choice for a school fundraisers.

International Walk to School Day will be celebrated October 7th, 2015.  Find out if your school is going to participate!

 

2. HOW TO PACK A HEALTHY LUNCH/SNACK

As a parent – it can seem overwhelming to pack lunches for multiple kids with different preferences and not much time.  Take a deep breath – and keep it simple.

Half of what you pack should be fruits and vegetables. One fruit and one vegetable is easy. Carrots, apples, organges, banana, celery sticks, pears, tangerines, raisins, craisins, sugar snap peas… Cut it up and add a little low fat ranch dressing or yogurt for dipping.

1/4 of what you pack should be protein and 1/4 should be whole grains. These often combine nicely. Peanut butter on wheat bread. Leftover cold chicken slices and wheat crackers. If your child has access to a microwave, whole wheat spaghetti with a meat sauce on top.  A mozzarella stick and two rolls of deli sliced turkey.

Your child may be used to cartoon characters on the fruit snacks (that don’t have any fruit in them) or lunchables (which are literally eye candy). Studies show that this marketing tool convinces kids to LOVE these  unhealthy “foods.”  Turn the tables!  Add a napkin with his favorite character on it to grab his attention. Use a cookie cutter to cut a star into the wheat sandwich bread.  Tell your child you are sending Spiderman snap peas that help those wall-climbing muscles! Make your own healthy Lunchables! Click on any of these pictures for more ideas.

Still feeling overwhelmed and need to buy lunch? Click back to the School section and scroll down to the SCHOOL LUNCH information. Learn about recent changes that will help kids get healthy choices in the school cafeteria.  Every morning that your child will buy lunch, look over the menu and discuss what are the best choices available that day.

The current wellness policy encourages parents to send in healthy school snacks. Check out this list of PEANUT-FREE “Real Food” Snacks. Here are Healthy After School Snacks!  And here

 

3. HEALTHY FUNDRAISERS

schoolmoneyTimes are tight – and schools want to raise extra money. No problem. Selling cookie dough or pizza or even baked goods to make that money? Problem.

Research shows that the health costs of typical fundraising outweigh the money raised.  Every sale of unhealthy food will increase the students’ BMI by 10%. Unfortunately, obese and overweight students struggle with academics, absenteeism, and bullying than their healthy peers.   Healthy fundraisers can be extremely lucrative.  In one study, 12 out of 17 schools with healthy fundraisers actually increased their profits. Healthy fundraisers are unique and may draw more buyers than the tired old doughnut sales.  Slap bracelets, picture frames, gift wrap, holiday wreaths, and t-shirts can make good money, provide a longer lasting product, and teach our students that they mean more to us than the money that they raise. Active fundraisers actually provide healthy opportunities outside of the limited time provided for recess and movement education. Lastly, we as parents must not simply calculate the money immediately raised from the traditional bake sales, but must also consider the expense of the poor health in our children on our society long term through diabetes, cardiac disease and increased medical costs.

In 2007, Lynchburg City Schools took big step and discontinued bake sales, doughnut and cookie sales.  Healthy alternatives were suggested, however, some schools failed to implemented the policy.  In 2013, our wellness policy was updated.  The policy now reads that “school-sponsored sale of food items that do not meet the nutritional standards set forth in the Standards for School Nutrition Program is not permitted on school property during regular school hours.”  However, the policy lacks the previous restrictions on fundraising, although still encouraging healthy and non-food options.  While this risks backsliding into unhealthy habits, it is frankly a more accurate portrayal of our current school environment, and it also matches the absence of fundraising regulation in the recent USDA recommendation about school nutrition (despite clear and progressive standards for meals and snacks).  On the up side, the 2013 LCS policy includes several changes in federal requirements on nutrition that will improve student health.  Please feel free to contact your LCS School Board to communicate your support for healthy fundraising requirements in the future.

Still not convinced why you shouldn’t just have a bake sale?  There are two guides from NYC,  fundraiser guide #1 targets elementary schools and fundraiser guide #2 focuses on high schools.  Brainstorm with your group to find what would help you raise money best and still promote health in our schools. Here are a few ideas:

Banner-HF-239-x-94T-shirts, shorts, hair clips/bows,  wristbands, cups, pens, pencils, notebooks, binders, key chains, magnets, balls, jump ropes, stickers, picture frames, reusable lunch containers, lunch bags, Candles, Books, Water, calendars, Stationary, jump drives, ipad covers, iphone covers, Greeting cards, Fruit, Holiday trees, wreaths, Jewelry, First aid kits, Plants, Flower seed packets, bulbs, Gift wrap, Grocery bags, Car wash, Fun run, singing telegrams…

Want more ideas of how you can actually combine healthy activity and fundraising –  Go here to CSPINET or Action for Healthy Kids.   Healthy fundraising USA has a catalog of ideas!  Boosterthon helps coordinate fundraising and health education for a fun run at your school.

In May 2012, Paul Munro Elementary held a special fundraiser to buy a gift for the school’s 50th anniversary. During the Move-a-thon, each student was in motion for 50 minutes with a variety of activities (jumping rope, running, hopscotch, cheerleading, jumping jacks, throwing balls, hula hoops, balloon toss) and had gotten pledges for each minute of movement.  The kids loved the activity, parents were happy to support the cause without having to buy more cupcakes or brownies! Money raised, kids healthy. No problem!

Contact us at livehealthylynchburg@gmail.com if you have more ideas for us to share!

 

4. HEALTHY SCHOOL CELEBRATIONS

Every year, some classes celebrate the 50th day of school with a 50s party.  Here are some suggestions that balance fun and wellness!  Have the kids count out 50 pennies, pieces of popcorn, or cheerios.  Back in the 50s – jello was a new and popular snack.  Make a jello mold with 50 pieces of fruit inside! Talk to the class about how in the 50s, milkmen delivered milk to the door.  Get milk in a glass jar from the grocery store for a healthy and delicious snack!

Here are two great sites with information and inspiration for how to have school parties without an excess of sugar: Center for Science in the Public Interest  & Action for Healthy Kids

As a parent, it can be difficult to break the habit of bringing cupcakes for a birthday or holiday celebration. Don’t forget that those sweet treats are against the LCS school wellness policy, and consider bringing something that will bring joy to the class for more than that one moment of consumption. Glow sticks, bal­loons, stick­ers, tat­toos, coloring sheets, erasers, pencils, and even party hats could help your child celebrate! What’s the big deal? Read more about why the wellness policy is important!

One mom’s blog called School Bites has even more ideas.

At the Paul Munro Carnival in the spring of 2012, there was a healthy food table with water, fruit, veggies, sandwiches and information about eating healthy. It wasn’t intended to replace the pizza and treats that are expected at Carnival – but to give parents and kids some healthy choices. We saw plenty of plates with pizza and apple slices, or nachos and carrots – and we made money too!

Bedford Hills has offered a healthy snack table at their fall Carnival two years in a row. If parent volunteers are willing to donate the food sold, the profits increase.  Apples, grapes, cheese sticks, and popcorn were all sold with great success!

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