With the alarming statistics of childhood obesity and poor nutrition among U.S. children and youth, it is essential for educators to foster healthy habits in the students attending their after school or out-of-school time programs.
With the alarming statistics of childhood obesity and poor nutrition among U.S. children and youth, it is essential for educators to foster healthy habits in the students attending their after school or out-of-school time (OST) programs. This includes providing healthy after school snacks that contribute to students’ overall health and performance.
We joined BOOST Collaborative and Healthy Kids Hub on Twitter to discuss healthy snacking in after school. They provided great insight and valuable information on promoting healthy eating habits in after school and OST programs. Here are five takeaways from the online discussion:
- Parent involvement is key! Invite parents into your program for snack time and offer them snacks and water. Also, use resources, like bewellbook.org, to share information about nutrition with parents to encourage healthy eating at home.
- Find creative ways to encourage healthy eating. Have a taste test of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, or share examples of other kids living a healthy lifestyle. Use these tips for encouraging students to eat fruits and vegetables.
- Involve students in the process. Spark their interest by providing hands-on learning activities. Start a garden and have students plant their own fruits and vegetables. Get creative and allow them to make their own snacks, like fruit kabobs or watermelon pizza.
- Snack healthy on a budget. Provide water during snack time, and when possible, buy food items in bulk. Also, establish a partnership with a community business, like a fresh market, to obtain discounts on healthy snacks.
- Integrate physical activity. Physical fitness is an important component of healthy living, and this is a great way to get students moving. One suggestion was to make “ants on a log,” and then do the GoNoodle dance, “ants in your pants.” Find more fitness activities at jumpbunch.com.
For resources for offering healthy snacks in after school and healthy snack recipes, visit http://healthykidshub.org.