Helping Youth Develop Healthy Habits

Summer is a time for fresh fruits and yummy snacks. But just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean we can’t continue eating healthy throughout the year! In this post we’ll share a ton of great resources including our new Healthy Habits curriculum and an exclusive recipe for some delicious Unicorn Toast! Scroll to the end to learn how YOU can be featured in an upcoming BGCA resource.

There’s a new Healthy Habits in town!

Everyone’s favorite nutrition education curriculum is back and better than ever! This time around, Healthy Habits has 14 sessions for three age groups: ages 6-9, 10-12, and 13-18. Through the sessions, youth of all ages define what health looks like for them, practice applying nutrition information in real-world situations (how to make your school lunch a little healthier) and how to be a positive influence on their environment. Maybe that looks like selling healthy options at the Club store, or modeling healthy eating for younger youth!

A huge part of Healthy Habits is helping youth – and staff – understand that a balanced diet isn’t the same for everyone. We all have different favorite foods, special family meal, tastes we like and don’t, foods that make us feel great, and foods that do not sit well in our tummies. Healthy Habits teaches that the most important thing about eating healthy getting the nutrients and fuel your body needs.

Another shiny new component of Healthy Habits is SNACKS!

Ok, actual snacks are not available for download, but there are snack suggestions for every session. These snack suggestions complement the session content so youth can immediately apply what they’re learning. Of course, these snacks are just suggestions – you can also ask youth for suggestions based on what they have already learned! Food is always more fun and exciting when you get a say.

To take a peek at all that Healthy Habits has to offer, click the cover below for a FREE download with SIX sessions! Boys & Girls Club staff can mosey on over to BGCA.net/TriplePlay and download the facilitator’s guide that contains everything you need. Also be sure check out BGCA’s Healthy Eating Resource Guide for Club staff and leadership to promote healthy lifestyles in your Club.

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BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! A new Arts Activity Guide is coming soon!

The upcoming Arts Activity Guide supports youth artists to express themselves creatively and practice skills in lots of different art forms. The 16 brand new activities in this guide, written for both ages 6-9 and 10-12, can be used any time as one-time exploratory experiences.  While they are arts-specific activities, they can be implemented in any program area of a Club, any day of the year. This Arts Activity Guide will include activities in the following topics:

  • Visual Arts: Mixed Media, Collage, Sculpture, Drawing
  • Performing Arts: Spoken Word, Drama Dance
  • Digital Arts: Photography, Graphic Design
  • Applied Arts: Culinary Arts, Accessory Design

You may be thinking, “why are we talking about the arts in a post about healthy eating?”

Well, the Culinary Arts is an important part of the Applied Arts! Culinary arts give youth artists an opportunity to express their imagination and creativity through the medium of food.  Experiences with culinary arts encourages youth to explore the many elements of food preparation, including healthy ingredients, taste, presentation, and experience.  The culinary arts also offer a variety of popular career and post-secondary opportunities for youth with a passion for food including specialized culinary arts college and certificate programs and careers such as chef, baker, or resturanteur!

For an exclusive sneak peek into the awesomeness that will be the Arts Activity Guide (which we will be sure to tell you about here on the ClubX Blog), check out our recipe for Unicorn Toast! This is a fun, colorful, and delicious activity to do with your youth!

Unicorn Toast

Ingredients to make one portion each for 25 youth (Be sure to consider allergies when selecting food supplies):

  • 5- 32 oz vanilla yogurt
  • 5- 8 oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 5- bottles of food coloring (we suggest in the colors of the rainbow- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
  • 1 slice of bread for each youth
  • Fruit to dice, we suggest
    • 1- 12 oz. package of strawberries
    • 2- 6 oz. packages of blueberries
    • 4- kiwi fruit
    • or other soft fruits
  • Additional garnish (such as sprinkles, candy, edible flowers, honey, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

Preparation

  • Dice fruit into small pieces and put into separate bowls with spoons.
  • Divide yogurt and cream cheese into 5 separate mixing bowls and blend completely (store in fridge until activity time).
  • Toast slices of bread.
  • Set up 6 stations each covered with a tablecloth and:
    • 1 mixing bowl with pre-mixed yogurt mixture
    • Spoons for mixing
    • 1 color of food coloring
    • Gloves
    • Paper plates
    • A piece of toast for each youth
    • Printed images of unicorn toast. See below or search on Pinterest.
  • Set up a separate table with the bowls of diced fruit and any additional garnish.

Instructions

  • Begin the program session with a community builder. Need one? Check the YD Toolbox.
  • Ask, “Do you think you might try a food you never have before if it was presented in a different way?” Allow youth to discuss.
  • Divide youth into groups of no more than 5, and assign each group a station. Have them look at the photo of unicorn toast at their table for an example of what they will do today.
  • At their stations, instruct youth to add a few drops of food coloring into their yogurt mixture and stir until the desired color is achieved.
  • Tell youth to put their piece of toast on a plate and walk around to each station to add the colorful yogurt mixture to their toast in any pattern they like using the spoon
  • Once the toast has been decorated with all of the colors, instruct youth to add the fruit garnish to their toast in a fun pattern
  • Once the garnish has been added, instruct youth to return to their tables and share their creation with the groupmates
  • Ask youth how their toast looks the same or different
  • Allow youth to sample their toast
  • After eating, bring all youth back together and ask the following reflection questions:
    • Did you enjoy our activity today? Why or why not?
    • Why is the way we present our food important?
    • How will you think about new ways to present the food you usually eat?
  • Instruct youth to clean up their stations.

 

What are some fun recipes you’ve tried with your youth? Share your recipe with us for a chance to be featured in BGCA’s new Healthy Cooking Recipe Guide coming next year! Send your recipe and some pictures to Rachel Greene-Wilber at rgreene@bgca.org or comment below or on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page.

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