Healthy Children - October 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.



5 Tips for Shopping Your Farmers Market

By Michael Leathers

Ever been to your local farmers market? It’s a different experience from going to the grocery store, but it’s a great opportunity to get the freshest local food in your community. If you’re a newbie to the farmers market scene, Becky Smith, a registered dietitian at Memorial Medical Center, has a few tips to get you started.

Variety, Variety, Variety

The farmers market offers a great chance to try something new. And usually the more unusual the product—white or purple carrots, for instance—the better the price compared to your local grocer. A good strategy is to look around at all the booths first and decide what your best bargains are. Don’t buy your produce at the first booth you visit. Each booth will price their products a little differently.

Get to Know Your Vendors

Build relationships with the local farmers. This is your chance to talk to the people who actually grow the food you want to eat. Ask them about their crops. How were they grown? What pesticides were used? When were they picked? Farmers also can tell you when certain fruits and veggies will be in season. Now’s the time to get blueberries, for example, because they’re at their peak in June and July. You’ll be a more educated consumer because you’ll learn the growing seasons.

Ask for tips and Recipes

The people who grow food you’re buying are eating it, too. Ask them for ways that they prepare their produce. Some of them even have favorite recipes that they’d be willing to share with you. Farmers know their products. They can tell you the best ways to clean, store and prepare what you’re buying. Take advantage of their advice.

More Than Fruits and Veggies

You can buy meat—yes, meat—at the farmers market. Some vendors offer different kinds of meats and sausage, and the market can also be a good source for free-range chickens that haven’t been inhumanely caged or injected with growth hormones. Other vendors may have fresh honey, popcorn, wine, bakery goodies, or homemade bottles barbecue sauces and salad dressings. The market’s a great source for fresh herbs, too

Bring Extra Bags

You never know how many great deals you might find, so it’s a good idea to bring extra bags to take your bounty home. Also consider bringing a backpack or a small cart to help you carry your bargains.

This article was originally published in the July 2011 issue of Live Well magazine, a publication of Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL |



Animal Actions

Get Ready
  • Space: Indoors
  • Stuff: Your imagination
  • Time: Playtime, weekend fun, or anytime you need to move from one place to another


Get Set
  • Start in one room of your home.
  • Decide on an animal and on another room to move to.


  • Get active! Move like the animal until you arrive at your new room- i.e. move like a bear to the bedroom, or move like a bird to the dining room.
  • Choose a new animal and a new room—and keep on moving.


Did you know?

Moving like four legged animals such as bears, dogs, cats, or lions requires children to bear weight on their legs and hands/arms and strengthens the shoulder and trunk of the body. Developing a strong trunk and shoulders is necessary before children can develop fine motor (small muscle) skills such as writing, buttoning, and zippering.

Reprinted with permission from Head Start & Body Start |



Enjoy Moving

Be physically active every day

Children and teens should be physically active for at least 60 minutes on most, preferably all, days of the week.

Do Plenty

Moving Whenever You Can

  • Walking the dog
  • Sweeping
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Playing outside
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Riding a bike
  • Throwing a ball


Do More

Making Your Heart Work Harder

  • Playing baseball or softball
  • Playing soccer
  • Jumping rope
  • Skateboarding
  • Gardening/Yard work
  • Running/Jogging
  • Playing basketball
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Playing tennis
  • Dancing
  • Skipping


Do Enough

Stretching and Building Your Muscles

  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Martial arts
  • Lifting free weights or strength training
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Pull-ups


Do Less

Sitting Around

  • Playing on the computer
  • Watching television
  • Playing electronic games
  • Talking on the phone
  • Sitting still for hours


Find your balance between eating and physical activity. Eating smart choices from every food group and being physically active work together for a healthier you! For more information go to: and



Know the Limits on Fats

Twenty to thirty-five percent of you daily calories should come from fats

  • Select and prepare lean cuts of meat. Trim fat from meat and take skin off poultry.
  • Choose fat-free and low-fat milk products.
  • The best sources of fats come from fish (omega-3), nuts, and vegetable oils.


Consume as little trans fat as possible.
  • Most unhealthy trans fat is found in processed foods (margarines, cookies, crackers, pies, breads, chips, microwave popcorn, French fries) that have been made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Look for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in the ingredients listing. Eat as few foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils as possible.
  • Trans fat may be listed in the Nutrition Facts label. Choose foods that have 0 grams trans fat but understand these foods can have up to ½ gram per serving. To tell for sure, look for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in the ingredients listing.


Apple Tuna Salad
Serves 6
2 cans (6oz.) tuna, drained
1 cup diced apples, unpeeled
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped nuts
½ cup low-fat mayonnaise or plain yogurt
Combine all ingredients. Chill.
Serve on lettuce or in a sandwich.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 180
fat 10 g
calories from fat 90
sodium 400 mg
total carbohydrate 6 g
fiber 1 g

Reprinted with permission from University of Illinois Extension Services.



Milk & Meat Group Choices

2 servings each day
One serving of the milk group is based on the amount of calcium in 1 cup of milk. This group is where partial servings are eaten most often.
1 cup milk
1 cup soy milk, calcium fortified - 1 serving
1/2 cup milk - 1/2 serving
1 1/2 ounce natural cheese - 1 serving
2 ounces processed cheese - 1 serving
1 string cheese (1 ounce) - 2/3 serving
1/2 cup cottage cheese - 1/4 serving
1/2 cup ice cream - 1/3 serving
1/2 cup frozen yogurt - 1/2 serving
1/2 cup pudding - 1/2 serving
2 servings each day
Two to three ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish equal one serving from this group. Amounts from this food group should total 5 ounces a day for 4- to 6-year-olds and about 31/2 ounces a day for 2 to 3-year-olds. Count 1 egg or 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans as 1 ounce of lean meat. Count 2 tablespoons peanut butter as 1 ounce of meat.
2 ounces cooked lean meat - 2 ounces
2 ounces cooked poultry or fish - 2 ounces
1 egg (yolk and white) - 1 ounce
*2 tablespoons peanut butter - 1 ounce
*1 1/2 frankfurters (2 ounces) - 1 ounce
2 slices bologna or luncheon meat (2 ounces) - 1 ounce
1/4 cup drained canned salmon or tuna - 1 ounce
1/2 cup cooked kidney, pinto, or white beans - 1 ounce
1/2 cup tofu - 1 ounce
1 soy burger patty - 1 ounce

* May cause choking in 2 to 3-year-old children.

Counting to see if your child has 5 ounces from the meat group is tricky.

Portion sizes vary with the type of food and meal. For example, 5 ounces might come from a combination of: 1 egg for breakfast; 2 ounces of sliced turkey at lunch; and 2 ounces cooked lean hamburger for dinner.

FAT TIPS: Here are two easy ways to reduce fat. Gradually change from whole milk to lower fat dairy products such as 2% or 1% fat milk or fat-free milk by age 5. Offer lean meats or low fat luncheon meats instead of higher fat ones. These tips can be used by the whole family.



Tech Time! Computers and Preschoolers

Laptops, desktops, notepads—they seem to be everywhere! Like many other kinds of technology, computers can help children learn. They can also contribute to problems that interfere with learning. What can adults do at home or at preschool to be sure that a computer is an asset to young children?

Be aware of health issues.

  • Don’t start too young. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults discourage all "screen time"—including computer use—for children under age 2. Babies’ and toddlers’ time is better spent in active play and interaction with people and things in the world around them.
  • Let preschoolers use the computer only for short periods of time (10-20 minutes). Time limits can help prevent obesity, eye problems, and other health concerns.
  • Encourage children to use laptops or notepads at desks or tables, not while lying on the floor. Good posture will protect their backs, necks, wrists, and arms.
  • Keep in mind that time at the computer is time away from active play, looking at books, and other worthwhile activities.


Monitor children's computer use.

  • Put the computer in a public space where an adult can see children using it.
  • Keep up with what children are doing on the computer. Be ready to answer their questions or read aloud from a Web site if needed.
  • Help children figure out how to use software or games but try to avoid telling them what to do.
  • Block or filter Web sites that are unsuitable for children.


Know what’s in the software, games, or Web sites children use.

  • Read reviews of software and games or try them out before buying.
  • Provide open-ended games and software that can support creativity, problem solving, number sense, and pre-literacy skills.
  • Choose software, games, and Web sites designed for preschool-age children that also promote pro-social values. (Stealing or fighting should not be made to seem “fun.”)


Help children extend what they learn at the computer.

  • Invite children to explain to you what they’re doing while on the computer.
  • Let children dictate their own stories while you type their words. Help them print stories or pictures they create on the computer to use in collages and displays.
  • Let children use the computer with peers. They can practice taking turns, learn rules of fairness, and become "experts" about a program, game, or Web site.
  • Offer children board games, active games, and other activities related to things they do during computer time.


The opinions, resources, and referrals provided on the IEL Web site are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice, or of other appropriate services. We encourage you to seek direct local assistance from a qualified professional if necessary before taking action.

The content of the IEL Web site does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education; nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education.

Reprinted with permission from Illinois Early Learning |