Please join FAN4Kids for a summer evening of cocktails, appetizers and fun as we honor special guests for their commitment to children’s health.
AM New York, By Meredith Deliso
AM New York highlights FAN4Kids and three other organizations for their efforts to fight the childhood obesity epidemic through programs in New York City’s classrooms aimed to help students make smart, healthy choices.
The Bronx Free Press, May 23, 2012
FAN4Kids teaches healthy lessons to students atPS 157 thanks in part to support from funder, the CSX Corporation.
Rob Oliver, FAN4Kids CEO and Founder was highlightedby NY1 during its FitKids February initiative. Rob shares how FAN4Kids teaches elementary school children in low income neighborhoods lessons in nutrition and fitness that last a lifetime.
The Pena family has been chosen as the FANs’ of the Month! Dominga Pena is the mother of three healthy children; Brandon (3rd grade), Keily (1st grade) and Max (pre-k) who all attend PS 157, Bronx, NY. She is actively involved in the school PTA, attends all of the FAN4Kids workshops/events, is always willing to give a helping hand and a good role model for her children!
The Pena family has been chosen as the FANs of the Month because of the positive life changes the entire family has made. Thanks to FAN4Kids, Dominga is proud to say her family has become healthier! Dominga has found her family drinking more water, exercising more and definitely eating healthier. “We are eating more vegetables now and it is my children who are encouraging our family to not eat junk food. FAN4Kids has taught my children how to make healthy choices. Before, my children only would drink juice- now, they are aware of the importance of drinking water. Even Keily drinks more than a bottle of water everyday.”
Not only is Brandon now more open to trying new foods, but he tells his siblings to not drink soda because it “will eat your bones” and he only drinks soda once in awhile. Brandon says in FAN4Kids, “I am learning to how to keep fit and how to eat healthy so we can make our bodies strong.” Keily, who also has FAN4Kids, says she is learning how to stay healthy, all about the different food groups and a new muscle each week. After each food tasting day, Keily comes home with the FAN4Kids tasting letter and shares with the family what she tried. During the fruit tasting, Keily told her family she tried natural applesauce and she liked it. Both Brandon and Keily tell their parents to look out for added sugars when buying foods such as applesauce. Because of her children’s influence, Dominga is now looking at the nutritional fact labels before she buys food for the family.
Even 4 year old Max; the youngest of the family (who does not have FAN4Kids this year), has learned ways to be healthy. He said (and demonstrated at the same time), “we can do 10 pushups and 10 squats so we can make our bodies strong.”
Dominga has noticed that her children want to be involved in not only eating healthy, but exercising. “When I am exercising, they are interested. They now see the elliptical as a fitness machine instead of a toy.”
It has been a healthy “family affair” for the Pena’s! It is great to see that not only FAN4Kids students, Brandon and Keily, are changing their habits, but the entire family is becoming healthier. They are all teaching and motivating each other to make healthy choices as a family.
Congratulations to the Pena family! Keep up the great work!
Dear Ms. FAN4Kids,
My son seems to have so much pent up energy when he comes home from school. He complains that he is sitting at his desk all day and does not get to move around, except for fitness days with FAN4Kids. He is the type of child who does better with activity throughout the day, but does not seem to be getting nearly enough movement or exercise at school. What can I do about this?
Sincerely, Lack of movement Mom
Dear Lack of movement Mom,
First of all, you are not alone! There are tons of studies that show you are correct and explain the importance and benefits of exercise throughout the day for children. Some of the many benefits of exercise during the school day are; students pay attention and follow directions better, learn more independently and solve problems on their own and fewer disciplinary issues. Even adults have a hard time concentrating and working their best when confined to a chair all day. It is amazing that we expect children to be able to focus and learn without any way to exercise and blow off steam.
We all know that 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous amounts of exercise daily is recommended for children.Is this really happening? Children spend most of their day at school, so it is important for them to get at least some, if not all, of the recommended amount of exercise during the day. How can exercise be incorporated in the school day? Below are ways that you can make sure this is happening at your child’s school…
1. Physical Education-make sure all students have gym scheduled as part of their day. Believe it or not, some students do not even have physical education at their school.
2. Recess-make sure all students are getting some form of physical activity for recess everyday. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics says that, “recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.”
3. FAN4Kids-continue to have and request to have more FAN4Kids as part of the school. Our program gets students and their families active through teaching fitness lessons, incorporating fitness breaks during nutrition lessons, leading structured recess and providing parent workshops and family fitness days.
4. Fitness Breaks-encourage teachers to include fitness breaks during the day. Giving up a few minutes of class time pays off well as students learn more efficiently and enthusiastically in class after they have had a few minutes of exercise.
5. School Wellness Council-this group is made up of individuals from the school community who meet to help improve the school’s health/wellness culture. Find out when the school wellness council meets and see how you can be involved.
Be an advocate for your children and find out if they are getting enough exercise at school. If not, speak up and suggest some of the above ideas. In addition, it is important to be a good role model and include exercise into your family’s daily routine at home.
FAN4Kids is pleased to announce that we are piloting a brand new healthy communities initiative at
schools we serve in NY and NJ. We have been working together with localbodegas/minimarts in the area to help families make healthier choices outside of school. Did you know that many of your local minimarts actually sell a number of healthy snacks? FAN4Kids will start highlighting those healthy snacks by putting FAN4Kids “Choose Healthy” signs next to items we believe to be healthy or a healthier alternative to notso-healthy choices many of us often indulge in. Check out participating bodegas and look for the “choose healthy” signs! Ask your children if they can find these signs around the store and encourage them to choose these healthy and delicious snacks that will help them grow big and strong, instead of the junk food that will slow them down (or make them bounce off the walls). Also, talk to your children about incentives their FAN4Kids instructor is giving them for finding the signs in the stores.
Here are the “Choose Healthy” signs that can be found at the local bodegas. Ask your FAN4Kids instructor which locations are participating and check them out!
According to the myplate guidelines, half of one’s plate should be filled with colorful vegetables and fruits. How can one do this? Is it possible? If you are prepared and conscious of this guideline while getting food on the table, this will not be as daunting of a task as it may seem. Here are tips on how to help your family meet the daily recommendations.
1. Build your meals around fruits and vegetables- this is a great way to make sure you include them in every meal! Pick a family favorite vegetable and create a meal around it by adding other healthy ingredients from different food groups.
2. Make a weekly menu and shopping list-this will help one remember all the items they need and prevent impulse shopping.
3. Maintain a well-stocked pantry with canned items-this will ensure you are always prepared, even if you forgot a fresh ingredient.
4. Be open to trying new fruits and vegetables-have fun with it-have the family try a new fruit or vegetable together as a family every week.
5. Choose recipes ahead of time-look up healthy recipes with vegetables and fruits in cookbooks, online, magazines, etc. Also ask your family for their input too. It is helpful to have a stockpile of healthy go to recipes.
6. Be a role model-the more you eat fruits and vegetables the more likely the rest of your family will follow your lead.
7. Grow a family garden-this will be a fun way to encourage the family to eat fruits and vegetables.
8. Make it fun- shop and cook meals as a family, or have a cook off where half the family cooks dinner one night the other half the next night.
9. Spice it up-use a variety of healthy cooking methods and flavors; sauté, grill, steam, stir-fry, bake, and add spice or an ethnic flavor. This will keep everyone eager to eat vegetables and fruits each day.
10. Snacks-do not forget that fruits and vegetables are terrific snacks and can be another way to add these foods into your diet during the day. Keep fruits and vegetables easily accessible to everyone in the home.
What is in Season? Take a look at the Fruits and Vegetables in Season this spring! Eating vegetables and fruits that are in-season are less expensive and taste fresher. However, you can enjoy the taste of any fruit or vegetable year-round by using fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice.
- Belgian Endive
- Butter Lettuce
- Collard Greens
- Fava Beans
- Green Beans
- Honeydew Melon
- Morel Mushrooms
- Pea Pods
- Red Leaf
- Snow Peas
- Spring Baby Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
- Vidalia Onions
In today’s world, there are so many pressures young boys and girls face as they attempt to meet society’s expectations of ideal physical appearance. We at FAN4Kids feel it is important to stress, to our students, the value of self worth and to help them accept themselves as they are as opposed to striving for a perceived standard which is most often unrealistic, unattainable and sure to cause discomfort.
In a letter written by the co-founder of a nutrition education company AND a MOM, reprinted here, the author addresses her children’s bodies, first thanking them for protecting her children both physically and emotionally and then filling them with hope that her children will, in turn, love their bodies and always feel comfortable in their own skin. Share this letter with your children too…..
Thank you for being my home. For loving me no matter what I do. For keeping me in one piece and recovering quickly even when I challenge you with trips, slips, falls, collisions, tackles, concussions, late nights of studying, too much sugar, and the germs that I encounter everywhere.
Thank you for protecting me from the many harsh and damaging chemicals, pollutants and substances in our world. For ditching the bad stuff you are given and employing the good.
Thank you for helping me to grow and get stronger every year. Thank you for balancing and righting me when I become sad, scared or discouraged. You never ask questions, and you are always there for me.
So to say thank you this New Year I will try my hardest to make more choices that benefit you. I will try to sleep well so that you can rebuild the pieces that get broken or weary during a typical day. I will stretch and I will exercise to help you transport blood efficiently.
I will eat lots of vegetables so you don’t have to work so hard to filter the pollution in the air I breathe or the chemicals in the candy I eat.
I will drink many glasses of water so my spine and joints stay hydrated, my blood travels efficiently, and my nerves function correctly. I will eat protein to give me long-lasting energy, and healthful fats to help my brain function at its highest capacity. I will take lots of deep breaths so all of my cells receive the oxygen they need to do their jobs.
I will try to listen when you talk to me. When I yawn, I will recognize that you want me to sleep. When I ache, I will stop pushing you so vigorously. When I feel anxious, I will breathe deeply and slow down. When I feel angry, I will pause, acknowledge and respect my feelings. When I lack energy, I will drink water, eat healthful food and get some fresh air.
And since you love and take care of me no matter what, perhaps this year I could decide to love you back no matter what shape or size you are, no matter how much muscle or fat or bone you build, no matter how coordinated you are or are not, no matter how many pimples you produce, or how many bad hair days you have. I will love you and take care of you as much as you love and take care of me.
This is not only an important lesson for children, but adults too…. Be thankful for the body that you have. Take care of your body because EVERYTHING you do in life is because you have a body to do it. Enjoy, and share this powerful letter with your children too.
FAN4Kids is excited to introduce the new “FAN of the Month”….. Zachary Torres! Zachary has taken the FAN4Kids messages of eating well and being physically active to the next level!