ALERT: NCHD Locations Closed Monday, April 22 READ MORE

North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Macon-Bibb County Health Department Promotes Healthy Eating Habits

SHARE

Children Learn the Importance of Nutrition Through 5 a Day Challenge

Nutrition is an important part of building and maintaining good health. Macon-Bibb County Health Department wants children to learn the importance of healthy eating by participating in the 5 a Day Challenge. The health department is partnering with elementary schools across the county to deliver nutrition education to young students and their families that will teach about the merits of replacing unhealthy foods with healthier options.

The 5 a Day Challenge encourages children and their family members to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day during the month of September. This 30-day challenge stresses the importance of produce in a child’s growth and development while offering participants the chance to learn about nutrition and the opportunity to win prizes.

“Our 5 a Day Challenge will get students excited about adding fruits and vegetables to their meals,” said Camille Watson, Health Educator with Macon-Bibb County Health Department. “Kids will learn about the importance of nutrition and find innovative was to incorporate healthy foods into meals and snacks. We want children to enjoy the challenge during September, but we also want them to make a habit out choosing healthy options.”

The challenge to students is simple. Students will be provided with an information sheet, activity list and daily log. Children and parents can review the included “Get Your 5 a Day” handout to learn what counts as a full serving of a fruit or vegetable. As children get their five servings, they will record what they ate in their daily log over the course of a month. On Oct. 1, students will pass their completed logs to their teachers who will return the daily logs to the health department. The names of each participating child will be entered in a random selection drawing for the chance to win gift cards to a local grocery store. Winners will be drawn to receive one of eight $25 cards, a $100 card, a $200 card and a $500 card. Participants chosen in the drawing will be announced Friday, Oct. 5.

“Kids love sweets, sodas and other junk foods, but it’s important for them to learn that the body can’t perform at it’s best if they focus on low-quality foods,” said North Central Health District Registered Dietitian Ryan Smith. “Fruits and vegetables are just one of the healthy foods needed for a balanced diet, but it’s a good stepping stone for kids to begin recognizing that making healthy choices now means a healthy future later.”

Parents of participating students are encouraged to join their children in adding healthy foods to their diets. Children are constantly developing habits by observing their environment and the people closest to them. Parents can help teach healthy and supportive food habits by following these healthy eating tips:

  • Create a healthy balance – Healthy eating patterns include a mixed, but balanced selection of foods from each food group. Try to include fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins with each meal.
  • Make healthy foods fun – Encourage your children to help you pick out fresh fruits and vegetables and involve them in the cooking process. Kids will often be more likely to try foods if they helped choose and prepare them.
  • Make healthier beverage choices – Choose water, unsweetened tea or low-fat milk instead of sugary drinks that lack nutritional value.
  • Be patient with your child – Learning to appreciate and enjoy new foods takes time, so keep offering new foods and flavors often. Try to avoid using foods, including sweets, as punishments or rewards.
  • Lead by example – When you make healthy choices, your child is more likely to do the same. Promote healthy foods and talk about their importance with your child.

For more information on the 5 a Day Challenge, contact Camille Watson at 478-749-0113. To learn more about the benefits of healthy eating and to discover more tips on how to improve your food choices, visit NCHD52.org/Nutrition.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to receive news, emergency messages and health information!

Comments are closed.