Healthy Children - September 2011

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.

Garden Patch Scramble

Here is a quick, easy meal. For variety, use different vegetables, depending on what you have on hand or what is in season.

Serves 2

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped sweet red or green pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions with tops
  • ½ tsp. basil leaves, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded low-fat cheese, optional
  • ½ cup whole kernel corn (cut fresh from the cobs, frozen or drained canned)
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice


  1. In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet:
    1. Heat oil over medium heat
    2. Add vegetables and water
    3. Cover and cook just until peppers are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes
  2. In a small bowl, beat together eggs, lemon juice and basil until blended
  3. Pour over vegetables
  4. As mixture begins to set, gently draw an inverted pancake turner completely across bottom and sides of pan, forming large soft curds
  5. Continue until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains
  6. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired


Nutrition information per serving: 170 calories, 8g fat, 0g trans fat, 215 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 8g carbohydrates, 1g fiber.


Here's some modifications to the recipe above so you can make it in the microwave!

  1. Omit oil and water
  2. In 1-quart casserole, stir together vegetables
  3. Cover with plastic wrap
  4. Cook on full power until peppers are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes
  5. In small bowl, beat together eggs, lemon juice and basil until well blended
  6. Pour over vegetables
  7. Cook on full power 1 minute
  8. With pancake turner, move cooked portions at edges toward center
  9. Continue cooking until eggs are almost set, about 1 to 2 minutes
  10. Stir
  11. If necessary, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, about 1 minute
  12. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired


Nutrition information per serving: 150 Calories, 6g fat, 0g trans fat, 215 mg cholesterol,
250 mg sodium, 8g carbohydrates, 1g fiber.

Prepared By

Barbara Farner, Extension Educator
Nutrition and Wellness
Matteston Center
University of Illinois Extension Family Nutrition Program
Sangamon-Menard Extension Unit
2501 N. 8th St
IL State Fairgrounds Bldg #30
Springfield, IL 62702
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science
United States Department of Agriculture
Local Extension Councils Cooperating

The University of Illinois provides equal opportunity in programs and employment.
The Family Nutrition Program is funded with Food Stamp Administrative funds by the Food & Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Healthy Homes - Move, Play, and Learn at Home

Healthy Heart Boogie v1.10

Get Ready
Get Set

Turn on some fun, upbeat music.

  • Take turns creating a simple move as the others follow along.
  • Put your hand over your heart and feel it beating faster!
  • Play “Freeze.” Stop the music without notice. When the music stops, everyone freezes like a statue in place. When the music starts, everyone gets moving.
  • Think up some fun challenges, such as:
    • Dance with your feet in place. How can you twist, turn and shake your body without moving your feet?
    • Hold some scarves or streamers to move through the air as you dance.
    • Dance as a pair. Pick a body part that has to touch while you are dancing (i.e. you and your partner dance while keeping your hands touching, now try elbows, or hips)


Did You Know?

Non-locomotor actions are movements that you do in place without traveling. These are also often called stabilizing actions and include movements such as: twisting, turning, balancing, standing, sitting, squatting, kneeling, swinging, swaying, pulling, pushing, stretching, bending, shaking, dodging, and landing, Which of these could you incorporate in your Heart Healthy Boogie?

Kids and Screens

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2 and less than 2 hours per day for older children.

Excessive screen time puts young children at risk.

  • Forty percent of 3-month-old infants are regular viewers of screen media, and 19% of babies 1 year and under have a TV in their bedroom.
  • Screen time can be habit-forming: the more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning them off as older children.
  • Screen time for children under 3 is linked to irregular sleep patterns and delayed language acquisition.
  • The more time preschool children and babies spend with screens, the less time they spend interacting with their parents. Even when parents co-view, they spend less time talking to their children than when they’re engaged in other activities.
  • Toddler screen time is also associated with problems in later childhood, including lower math and school achievement, reduced physical activity, victimization by classmates, and increased BMI.
  • Direct exposure to TV and overall household viewing are associated with increased early childhood aggression.
  • The more time preschool children spend with screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative play - the foundation of learning, constructive problem solving, and creativity.
  • On average, preschool children see nearly 25,000 television commercials, a figure that does not include product placement.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents create an electronic-media-free environment in children’s bedrooms.

On average, preschool children spend 32 hours a week with screen media.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Reclaiming Childhood From Corporate Marketers

School-Aged Child Nutrition

Children’s Hospital, St. Louis

Helpful feeding information for your school-aged child: School-aged children (ages 6 to 12) continue to need healthy foods and nutritious snacks. They have a consistent but slow rate of growth and usually eat four to five times a day (including snacks). Many food habits, likes, and dislikes are established during this time. Family, friends, and the media (especially TV) influence their food choices and eating habits. School-aged children are often willing to eat a wider variety of foods than their younger siblings. Eating healthy after-school snacks are important, as these snacks may contribute up to one-third of the total calorie intake for the day. School-aged children have developed more advanced feeding skills, are better at feeding skills, and are able to help with meal preparation.

The following are some helpful mealtime hints for school-aged children:

  • Always serve breakfast, even if it has to be "on the run." Some ideas for a quick, healthy breakfast include the following: fruit, milk, bagel, cheese toast, cereal, peanut butter sandwich.
  • Take advantage of big appetites after school by serving healthy snacks such as the following: fruit, vegetables and dip, yogurt, turkey or chicken sandwich, cheese and crackers, milk and cereal.
  • Set good examples for eating habits.
  • Allow children to help with meal planning and preparation.
  • Serve meals at the table, instead of in front of the television, to avoid distractions.


Healthy food choices:

The food guide pyramid is a guideline to help you and your child eat a healthy diet. The food guide pyramid can help you and your child eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services have prepared the following food pyramid to guide parents in selecting foods for children 2 years and older.

The Food Pyramid is divided into six colored bands representing the five food groups plus oils:

  • Orange represents grains: Make half the grains consumed each day whole grains. Whole-grain foods include oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, whole cornmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Check the food label on processed foods - the words “whole” or “whole grain” should be listed before the specific grain in the product.
  • Green represents vegetables: Vary your vegetables. Choose a variety of vegetables, including dark green- and orange-colored kinds, legumes (peas and beans), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables.
  • Red represents fruits: Focus on fruits. Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.
  • Yellow represents oils: Know the limits on fats, sugars, and salt (sodium). Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening, and lard, as well as foods that contain these.
  • Blue represents milk: Get your calcium-rich foods. Milk and milk products contain calcium and vitamin D, both important ingredients in building and maintaining bone tissue. Use low-fat or fat-free milk after the age of two years. However, during the first year of life, infants should be fed breast milk or iron-fortified formula. Whole cow’s milk may be introduced after an infant’s first birthday, but lower-fat or skim milk should not be used until the child is at least two years old.
  • Purple represents meat and beans: Go lean on protein. Choose low fat or lean meats and poultry. Vary your protein routine - choose more fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.


Activity is also represented on the pyramid by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 (the most recent guidelines), a decrease in energy intake of 50 to 100 calories per day for children who are gaining excess fat can reduce the rate at which they gain weight. With this reduction in energy intake, they will grow into a healthy weight as they age. Help your child to find higher-calorie foods that can be cut from his/her daily intake.

Nutrition and Activity Tips
  • Try to control when and where food is eaten by your children by providing regular daily meal times with social interaction and demonstration of healthy eating behaviors.
  • Involve children in the selection and preparation of foods and teach them to make healthy choices by providing opportunities to select foods based on their nutritional value.
  • For children in general, reported dietary intakes of the following are low enough to be of concern by the USDA: vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Select foods with these nutrients when possible.
  • Most Americans need to reduce the amount of calories they consume. When it comes to weight control, calories do count. Controlling portion sizes and eating non-processed foods helps limit calorie intake and increase nutrients.
  • Parents are encouraged to provide recommended serving sizes for children.
  • Parents are encouraged to limit children’s video, television watching, and computer use to less than two hours daily and replace the sedentary activities with activities that require more movement.
  • Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days for maintenance of good health and fitness and for healthy weight during growth.
  • To prevent dehydration, encourage children to drink fluid regularly during physical activity and drink several glasses of water or other fluid after the physical activity is completed.


To find more information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and to determine the appropriate dietary recommendations for your child’s age, sex, and physical activity level, visit the Online Resources page for the links to the Food Pyramid and 2005 Dietary Guidelines sites. Please note that the Food Pyramid is designed for persons over the age of two who do not have chronic health conditions.

Always consult your child’s physician regarding his/her healthy diet and exercise requirements.