Food Challenge #1

How much sugar do you normally eat?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says kids ages 2-18 have a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 6 teaspoons of added sugar.

There are different kinds of SUGAR and each type impacts our bodies differently. Processed or "added" sugars are found in sodas, candies, cakes, and processed grains for example. Additionally, these food items often have hidden added sugars with different names. In FitQuest, we explore this concept with students using the Gross Rule, encouraging them to search for hidden added sugars by locating names on ingredients lists that rhyme with the word “gross” (I.e., glucose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, etc.). Often, our favorite sweets will have more than one type of sugar, and the #1 source of added sugars for kids are sugary drinks. However, not all sweet foods are bad for you! There are also natural sugars and sweeteners that are beneficial to the body, such as honey and real maple syrup! Fruits are also a great source of natural sugar, and they also contain large amounts of fiber, which helps the body manage sugar intake. Below is a chart with some snack foods and their sugar content. Students can use this chart as a visual aid to explore the sugar content of their favorite snacks and make healthy choices!

  1. Today, note how much sugar you normally eat.
  2. Use the chart below and make a goal to reduce the amount of sugar you eat for the next 2-3 days and chart your progress.
  3. See if you can get down to 6 teaspoons/day.
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My Plate, My Wins!

Use the MyPlate as a tool and guide for healthy eating. Your nutrition is important and making informed, healthy decisions can help you feel your best!

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My Plate

Enter ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information on how to make healthy food choices.

FitQuest MyPlate Champion List

  • Eat more fruits and veggies. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables everyday!
  • Try whole grains. Ask for oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, or brown rice at meals.
  • Re-think your drink. Drink water instead of sugary drinks, or 2 glasses of water after 4 oz of a sugary drink. If you can drink milk, try whole or low-fat options. 
  • Focus on lean protein. Choose protein-rich foods like beans, fish, lean meats, and nuts to encourage muscle growth. Explore which veggies and legumes provide lean protein.
  • Slow down on sweets. Eat sweets, like cakes or cookies, once in a while and in small amounts.
  • Be active your way. These healthy choices will provide your body with more energy. Explore different ways you can exercise and be active for at least 1 hour each day. Examples of positive ways to be active each day include walking to school, riding your bike, playing a sport with friends and/or helping with chores around the house.

Can you pledge to eat healthy and be active?   If you answered yes, you have what it takes to be a FitQuest MyPlate Champion! 

Veggies and fruit are superfoods and can be a delicious resource for keeping us well.

  • What are your favorites? Often people answer strawberries, apples, and maybe carrots.
  • The MyPlate recommends having half your plate be fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, all vegetables are a good idea on that half of your plate due to the sugar content in fruit.
  • Eat a rainbow of colors of veggies, like a little bit of red cabbage with a mix of green lettuce, some grated carrots, and a diced tomato to make a good salad to start. Toss it with your favorite dressing and there you go! Add some fruits, or nuts, like walnuts, pistachios, or shelled sunflower seeds; this gives you more superfood nutrients, protein, and good fats.
  • Raw vegetables are good, but so are cooked veggies. For example, steam some cauliflower and make a simple cheese sauce to pour over it, yum.
  • Fruit and fruit nuts are also good in our diet. Toss in chopped fruit with some plain yogurt, (there is a lot of sugar in fruits, so be mindful,) add some nuts or granola, and what a treat!
  • Veggies and fruits nourish our bodies.
  • Be aware of any allergies you may have when taking these suggestions.
  • Find more recipes and ideas at ChooseMyPlate.gov 

While dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are calcium-rich foods, there are other food items that can be used to boost your calcium intake. You may either be lactose intolerant or want to limit the amount of dairy you eat. If so, vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage are a good source of calcium while also supplying energy-packed nutrients. Additionally, foods like almonds, shrimp, salmon, beans, chickpeas and molasses are rich in calcium. Vitamin D is essential in helping your body absorb calcium. Remember to look for it in milk alternatives, cereal varieties, orange juice, salmon, tuna, cheese, egg yolks and more to make the most out of your meals.

Whole grains are full of essential nutrients that help your body stay healthy and energized. Most familiar grains options are highly-processed, or refined grains, such as doughnuts, white rice, sweetbreads, bagels, tortillas and more. To become a refined grain, whole grains are processed and stripped of most of their nutrients and fibers. To add a sweet taste, added sugars are mixed in with the limited fibers and nutrients left, and an unhealthier source of grains is produced. Try oats, quinoa, brown rice, wheat, cornmeal, popcorn, oatmeal and whole-grain bread options to maximize the health benefits. Explore recipes and more at wholegrainscouncil.org.

Protein helps you grow and develop as a child, being the main proponent of muscle growth. Later in life, it helps your body repair cells and make new ones. Most kids think of meat when protein is mentioned, but there are other sources of protein that exclude meat. The options are eggs, beans, legumes, soy, various types of nuts, seeds, and certain fruits and vegetables. Remember a recommended source of protein is about the size of the palm of your hand.

Know your whole grains?

Make half your grains whole.

Add More Veg to Your Day

It's easy to eat more vegetables! Eating fruits and vegetables is important—they are full of vitamins and nutrients essential in supplying your body with energy. Their fun, vibrant colors are a bonus too! To easily add more into your diet, try having them as snacks throughout your day and when possible, make them an important part of your plate.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

1. Look in your Refrigerator

Choose an orange, or apple, some carrots, radishes, cucumber and pickles. Create your snack with a spoon of peanut butter, or a drizzle of ranch dressing or hummus dip.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

2. Be ahead of the Game

Cut up some bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, dice a tomato, even some onion and sliced mushrooms. Most can be eaten raw as a snack and used for meals too. See #4 for some breakfast ideas, and #5 for later in the day.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

3. Veggies/Fruit rich in color

Brighten your plate with red, orange, purple, green and white. The more color the better the vitamins, minerals and healthy body.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

4. Veggies/Fruit at Breakfast

As simple as banana sliced into your cereal, or on top of your pancake, a measure of raisins in your oatmeal or grits. Try those veggies from #3 cooked with some olive oil and added to your scrambled eggs.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

5. Game on Lunch & Dinner

Add some of that diced onion to your tuna sandwich, some pickle too on whole grain bread, is there any lettuce to add? ½ an apple on the side maybe?

Saute’ those (#3) bell peppers with onions, tomato, cauliflower and broccoli and add them over some fish or chicken. Yum!

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

6. Try
these too!

Be ready to try something new! Seasonal veggies and fruit: acorn or butternut squash, zucchini tomato, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, peaches.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

7. Canned Fruit & Vegetables

Keep some on hand to make your meals better. Tomatoes, beans, beets, corn.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

8. Vegetable Soup

Heat it and eat it. (read your labels) Wow, tomato soup, squash soup, all those veggies from #3, simmering away, make it yourself.

Grapes and apples in refrigerator ideal for diet

Vary for
the best

Choose something new, fill your plate and self with colorful, tasty vegetables and fruit and feel the best you can!

Hack Your Snacks

Healthy snacks keep you satisfied between meals.

Hack Your Snacks

Planning for healthy snacks can help satisfy hunger in between meals and keep you moving towards your food group goals.

Build Your Own

Make your own trail mix with unsalted nuts and add-ins such as seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, or a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

Prep Ahead

Portion snack foods into baggies or containers when you get home from the store so they’re ready to grab-n-go when you need them.

Make It A Combo

Combine food groups for a satisfying snack—yogurt and berries, apple with peanut butter, whole-grain crackers with turkey and avocado.

Eat vibrant veggies

Spice up raw vegetables with dips. Try dipping bell peppers, carrots, or cucumbers in hummus, tzatziki, guacamole, or baba ganoush.

Snack on the go

Bring ready-to-eat snacks when you’re out. A banana, yogurt (in a cooler), or baby carrots are easy to bring along and healthy options.

Cooking with Rhody!

Popcorn

Looking for Snack Tips?

10 Tips for Making Great Tasting Snacks!

Easy Recipes

Learn how to make easy, nutritious, great-tasting recipes. You have the power!

Fresh tortilla wraps with chicken and fresh vegetables on plate

MyPlate Kitchen Recipes

"MyPlate-inspired" recipes featuring the 5 food groups.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin 5 Ways

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Turkey 5 Ways

Be Food Safe

A critical part of healthy eating is keeping foods safe! Reduce contaminants and keep food safe to eat by following safe food handling practices. Four basic food safety principles work together to reduce foodborne illness: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. 

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Wash hands w/ soap & water

Wet hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all parts of the hand for 20 seconds. Rinse hands thoroughly and dry using a clean paper towel. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Clean appliances

Clean the inside and the outside of appliances. Pay particular attention to buttons and handles where cross-contamination to hands can occur.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Use a food thermometer

A food thermometer should be used to ensure that food is safely cooked and that cooked food is held at safe temperatures until eaten.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Sanitize surfaces

Surfaces should be washed with hot, soapy water. A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water can be used to sanitize surfaces.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Rinse
Produce

Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if you plan to peel or cut the produce before eating, it is important to thoroughly rinse it first to prevent microbes from transferring from the outside to the inside of the produce.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Check food temperature

One effective way to prevent illness is to check the internal temperature of seafood, meat, poultry, and egg dishes. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F. Cook all poultry, including ground turkey and chicken, to an internal temperature of 165 °F.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Clean the fridge once/week

At least once a week, throw out refrigerated foods that should no longer be eaten. Cooked leftovers should be discarded after 4 days; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Separate
Foods

Separate foods when shopping . Place raw seafood, meat, and poultry in plastic bags. Store them below ready-to-eat foods in your refrigerator. Separate foods when preparing and serving. Always use a clean cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw seafood, meat, and poultry. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food.

Vegetables washing in the kitchen

Keep food
cold

Hold cold foods at 40 °F or below. Keep hot foods at 140 °F or above. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been in the danger zone between 40-140 °F for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F).

Read the Label!

You have the power! Learn how to read the nutrition facts on a food label.

Cool Nutrition Label Tips?

. . . and how to make smart food choices!

Dining Decisions

Install the app on your cell phone today to help make healthy food choices every day.

Which is Best?

Though we cannot see each individual nutrient inside a vegetable, the color of the vegetable can be used as a visual aid to determine the amount of nutrients it may have in comparison to others. This is called the “Eat Your Colors” rule. This rule states that the more vibrant in color a vegetable is, the more nutrients it contains. For example, when comparing two different vegetables, you would need to determine which has more vibrancy in color. When examining two vegetables of the same type, the more colorful of the two would still have more nutrients, despite being the same type of veggie. Use this rule to determine which vegetables contain more nutrients below:

lettuce

Lettuce?

Not Quite

Due to its high water content, iceberg lettuce is less nutritionally dense than dark leafy greens like spinach.

or

Spinach

Spinach?

Correct!

Spinach has twice the vitamins and three times the minerals of lettuce. Romaine, butter and leafy lettuces are great too!

cauliflower

Cauliflower?

Not Quite

They are nutritionally similar, but broccoli has more Vitamins (C, and K).

Cauliflower provides a bit more Vitamin B-6.

or

broccoli

Broccoli?

Correct!

Broccoli contains more Vitamins (C, and K) both are full of fiber and part of

a healthy diet.

Potato

Potato?

Both Are Healthy in Moderation

Try roasted instead of fried.

or

sweet-potato

Sweet Potato?

Both!

White potatoes provide more potassium, whereas sweet potatoes are incredibly high in vitamin A.

Rethink Your Drink

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon.

Doctors suggest 6 total grams of sugar per day.

Sports Drinks

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Soda

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Iced Tea

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Energy Drink

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Water!

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water

Water for the Win!

Getting enough water every day is important for your health. Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones. Drink water for the win! Rethink your drink!

Better Beverage Tips

What you drink is as important as what you eat. Many beverages contain added sugars and offer little or no nutrients, while others may provide nutrients but too much fat and too many calories. It is recommended kids ages 9-13 years old have at least 8 (8 oz.) glasses of water a day. An easy way to reach this goal, and be an eco-kid at the same time, is getting a reusable water bottle! Here are some tips to help you make better beverage choices.

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1. Drink Water

Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Regular soda, energy or sports drinks, and other sweet drinks usually contain a lot of added sugar, which provides more calories than needed.

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2. How much water is enough?

Let your thirst be your guide. Water is an important nutrient for the body, but everyone’s needs are different. A healthy body can balance water needs throughout the day. Drink plenty of water if you are very active, and live or work in hot conditions.

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3. A thrifty option

Water is usually easy on the wallet. You can save money by drinking water from the tap at home or when eating out.

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4. Manage your calories

Water is sugar-free! Sometimes you may want a sweet beverage but make it a small, 4oz. one, and then drink some more water.

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5. Water on the go

Water is always convenient. Fill a clean, reusable water bottle and toss it in your bag or briefcase to quench your thirst throughout the day. Reusable bottles are also easy on the environment.

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6. Don't forget calcium!

When you can choose milk or milk alternatives like soymilk, read the labels. Remember there are other sources of calcium, vitamin D and potassium, and
it is important to get enough each day.

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7. Watch your serving size

When water just won’t do — enjoy the beverage of your choice, but just cut back. Remember to check the serving size and the number of servings in the can, bottle, or container to stay within calorie needs. Select smaller cans, cups, or glasses instead of large or supersized options.

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8. Check the facts

Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose beverages at the grocery store. The food label and ingredients list contain information about added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and calories to help you make better choices.

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9. Squeeze lemons or limes

It's easy to make your own flavored water by adding a squeeze or wedge of lemon or lime to your water. You'll save added sugars and extra calories compared to water flavored with sugar.