University of Illinois Extension

Food for Thought - University of Illinois Extension

Growing Up Fit

Most children do not get enough exercise from all the running and playing they do. Today there is too much observation and not enough participation in physical activities. Children need to be physically active on a regular basis.

Children around the United States tend to be heavier than ever before. They aren't just eating more food, they are less active.

Physical activity is one of the keys to good health for people of all ages. Did you know:

Children who are active beginning in their early years are less likely to develop childhood obesity, a growing problem among children?

Help your children develop good physical activity habits by exercising with them regularly.

Summer is a good time for your children and you to be physically active. Take advantage of the additional hours of sunlight and plan at least one physical activity with your children every day.

Some Ideas to Get You Started

Jumping Animals - play music and ask the children to jump like a variety of animals, such as a frog or kangaroo.

Jack Be Nimble Jumps - Ask each child to jump over "candlesticks" (cans could be used) without knocking them down. As each child jumps, sing the rhyme and insert his or her name.

Follow the Leader Walk - Each person takes a turn being the leader and decides where and how to walk. You might skip for 10 steps and then hop on one foot for 10 steps, run, walk, go up and down steps. Let the children use their imagination when they are the leader.

Rabbit and turtle - Stand at attention. Jog in place very slowly, pretending to be a turtle. Have someone call out "rabbit." Now run faster, pretending to be a rabbit. Faster. Lift your knees up high. When someone calls out "turtle" slow down. Slowly. More slowly.

Frog on a Log - Start from a squatting position, hands on the floor, fingers forward, elbows pressed inside of knees. Lean forward very slowly until your full weight is on your hands, lifting your feet off the floor if you can. See if you can balance your body. Keep your head up. Hold for a couple of seconds.

Gorilla Walk - Spread your feet apart. Bend from the waist and grab both ankles. Keep knees and legs straight. Now walk forward. GRRRRRR!

Flip-Flop - Have everyone chose a spot. Start by jogging in place. Every 15 to 30 seconds when a signal is given (blow a whistle or ring a bell), everyone drops down, touch their stomachs to the ground, flip over, touch their backs to the ground, then get up and begin jogging again.

For a variation, instead of jogging they can skip, hop on one foot or jump on two feet. Each time they drop to do the flip-flop, they can do another exercise like sit-up, push-up or toe touches. Let the kids suggest what they want to do.

This is one way to get a little activity in your life and spend some time together as a family.

Summer Snacks

After exercising try one of these quick, easy nutritious snacks.

Pyramid Yogurt Sundae

2 cups of nonfat vanilla flavored yogurt
3 bananas
1/2 cup coarsely crushed cereal
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Divide yogurt between 5 serving bowls. Slice the bananas and place in a bowl. Place crushed cereal in a bowl. Place chopped nuts in a bowl. Have the kids top their yogurt with bananas, cereal and nuts. Enjoy!
Serves 5.

How many food groups are included in this recipe? (4)
Name them. (milk, cheese & yogurt; breads, cereal, rice & pasta; fruit; and meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs & nuts)

Stuffed Apple

2 apples
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
2 Tablespoons crushed cereal
2 Tablespoons corn syrup or honey

Wash apples. Using an apple corer remove the core. Set the apples aside.
Place all of the other ingredients in a small resealable freezer bag, close tightly. Have the kids mix the ingredients in the bag until thoroughly mixed. Cut off one corner of the bag. Squeeze the filling into the center of the apples. Slice apples crosswise. Serves three to four.