Healthy Children - August 2015

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.


We Can! Go, Slow, and Whoa Foods

Use this chart as a guide to help you and your family make smart food choices. Post it on your refrigerator at home or take it with you to the store when you shop. Refer to the Estimated Calorie Requirements to determine how much of these foods to eat to maintain energy balance.

  • GO Foods—Eat almost anytime.
  • SLOW Foods—Eat sometimes, or less often.
  • WHOA Foods—Eat only once in a while or on special occasions.




Be Food Safe

10 tips to reduce the risk of foodborne illness

A critical part of healthy eating is keeping foods safe. Individuals in their own homes can reduce contaminants and keep food safe to eat by following safe food handling practices. Four basic food safety principles work together to reduce the risk of foodborne illness—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. These four principles are the cornerstones of Fight BAC!®, a national public education campaign to promote food safety to consumers and educate them on how to handle and prepare food safely.

1 wash hands with soap and 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.

2 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

3 clean sweep refrigerated foods once a 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.

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

5 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.

6 separate foods when shopping
Place raw seafood, meat, and poultry in plastic bags. Store them below ready-to-eat foods in your refrigerator.

7 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.

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

9 cook food to safe internal temperatures
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 (

10 keep foods at safe temperatures
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).

Go to for more information.
Go to for food safety information.

MyPlate Snack Tips for Kids

10 tips for making great tasting snacks

If you’re a budding chef, it’s easy to create a great tasting snack! Below are some quick ideas that you can make on your own.

1 create a yogurt sundae!
Top plain, low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, like bananas, strawberries, or peaches. Sprinkle whole-grain cereal on top for crunch.

2 make pita pockets
Stuff a small whole-wheat pita with sliced bell peppers, salsa, and a slice of low-fat cheese. Melt in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

3 jazz up your favorite cereal
Make a trail mix! Stir 1/4 cup of unsalted nuts, 1/4 cup of dried raisins or cranberries, and 1/4 cup of whole-grain cereal together.

4 make a fruit sandwich
Cut an apple into thin slices. Spread peanut butter or almond butter between two slices to create “apple sandwiches.”

5 dip your veggies
Create veggie treats by dipping slices of cucumbers, peppers, and carrots in a low-fat salad dressing or hummus.

6 pack an afterschool snack
For a healthy afterschool snack, keep a fruit cup packed in 100% juice or water in your bag. Some fresh fruit, like bananas and oranges, are also easy to pack and eat any time.

7 try a piece of cheesy toast!
Toast a slice of whole-wheat bread and top with a slice of your favorite low-fat cheese.

8 freeze your fruit
For a frozen treat on hot days, try freezing grapes or bananas! Don’t forget to peel bananas and pull grapes from the stem before freezing.

9 power up with ‘roll-ups’
Roll a slice of low-salt deli turkey or ham around an apple wedge or around a slice of low-fat cheese.

10 build a fruit salad
Mix your favorite sliced fruits such as pineapple, grapes, and melon.


Make Half of Your Grains WHOLE

Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel: the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Some Examples of Whole Grains:
brown rice
bulgur (cracked wheat)
whole-wheat cereal
whole-grain barley
whole-grain cornmeal
whole rye
whole-wheat bread
whole-wheat crackers
whole-wheat pasta
whole-wheat sandwich buns and rolls
whole-wheat tortillas
wild rice
whole cornmeal
shredded wheat cereal

Whole grain tips –

  • Choose a whole grain, such as oatmeal, when you have hot cereal.
  • Read the label on a cereal box to find the word “whole” listed with the first ingredient.
  • For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
  • When baking, substitute wholewheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in a recipe.
  • Eat whole-grain crackers.
  • Once a week or more, try a low fat meatless meal or main dish that features whole grains (such as red beans and brown rice).


Be a Fit Kid

10 tips for being active every day

Fit kids are physically active and play for at least 1 hour every day. Look for ways to make physical activity a part of your day. Do activities that build your muscles, get your heart pumping, and make you feel good about yourself.
1 tie up your laces and walk
Go for a walk around your neighborhood or walk to your friend’s house instead of taking the bus or asking for a ride. Forget the elevator and take the stairs every chance you get! Remember to be safe by using sidewalks and crosswalks.
2 turn up the music
Shake, rattle, and roll to your favorite songs. Turn on some hip hop, country, salsa, or pop music and move your body. Dancing is a great way to get some physical activity.
3 ride a bike
Grab your helmet and safety gear and go for a bike ride. Ride your bike to school or grab your friends and enjoy a ride in the neighborhood.
4 join a team
Show your team spirit and join a sport at your school or community center. There are tons of fun teams such as basketball, baseball, gymnastics, dancing, soccer, swimming and tennis. Choose an activity that you like and have fun!
5 go out and play
Ditch the TV and go outside with friends, family and even your pets! Walk your dog. Make a snowman, Fly a kite. Have a Hula-hoop contest. Play basketball with friends. Try jumping rope. Or simply play a game of tag.
6 dive right in!
Go to your local indoor or outdoor pool and swim. Swim laps, play water games with friends, or have diving contests for fun.
7 get paid to be fit
Earn extra cash by moving lawns, washing cars, shoveling snow, or walking dogs for your family or for your neighbors. Listen to music while you work to keep you going.
8 try skating or skateboarding
Grab your friends and go to a local park or indoor skating rink! It’s easy to learn and a great way to be active while still having fun! Remember to wear your helmet and safety pads.
9 plant a garden
Plant and grow flowers, fruits and vegetables with your family, or even with your friends! Creating a garden is tough work and a good way to keep fit. Be sure to check on your plants and water them every day!
10 stuck inside?
Play a game of hide-and-seek or plan a scavenger hunt in your house with friends and family. Another great way to stay active indoors is by doing crunches and jumping jack–see how many you can complete!