From the grocery store aisles to the football field, Stop and Shop, a retailer in the Northeastern US, teamed up with the New England Patriots and United Way for a “Healthy Kids Summit” at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Over 400 kids and adults joined in to learn about healthy lifestyles from a team of experts, including Stop and Shop’s first in-store dietitian, Julie Menounos. The event was created in effort to combat childhood obesity.
“As a local grocery chain with roots right here in New England, Stop & Shop’s focus has always been to ensure local children are healthy, happy and informed,” said Julie Menounos, retail dietitian for Stop & Shop New England Division. “The information provided at the ‘Healthy Kids Summit’ will help families make better decisions when it comes to nutrition, exercise and balanced lifestyles. We’re grateful for our dedicated and involved panelists and partners who help make these summits fun, inspirational and educational.”
Other panelists included Devin McCourty, New England Patriots Defensive Back, Caitlin Gibbs, Director of Association Health Innovation, Hockomock YMCA, and Dr. Brian Patel, Associate Chief of the Emergency Care Center at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. They tested the kids’ nutrition and exercise knowledge with a fun trivia game. New England Patriots players also got kids up and moving with high-energy skills and drills sessions. The successful event was rounded out with a mini health fair and healthy snacks.
“I had a great time running around today with the kids at the Healthy Kids Summit,” said New England Patriots Defensive Back Devin McCourty. “I really enjoy being out here as a role model, showing kids what I do to stay active and healthy.”
Menounos provided these tips for kids and their families to stay active and eat healthy.
#1 Eat breakfast every day. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination. For a quick breakfast burrito, spread peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla wrap and roll a banana into it. Wash it down with a cup of milk for a balanced breakfast.
#2 Offer at least one fruit or vegetable at meals and snacks. MyPlate recommends filling half of our plate with fruit and non-starchy vegetables (all expect for peas, corn and potatoes). Serve or mix fruit and vegetables into family favorites- add fruit into breakfast cereal and shredded veggies into pasta. Remember- it takes 10-15 exposures of a new food for your child to develop a taste for it!
#3 Cut back on sugary drinks by offering water or milk at meals. The healthiest beverages are water, milk or 1, 4-ounce serving of 100% fruit juice daily. If looking for a bubbly beverage alternative, try flavored seltzer water or mix a splash of your child’s favorite 100% fruit juice into plain seltzer water.
#4 Show your kids how to check the “serving size” on the Nutrition Facts Label. It’s never too early to start reading food labels. Teach your child to check the serving size before eating a packaged food (think cereal, crackers, soup). Many packages often contain more than one serving so you have to multiply the numbers for calories, sodium and sugar, by the number of servings you eat.
#5 Be a good role model. If you want your child to eat your veggies, then you have to eat them too. Children are very receptive verbal and nonverbal expressions. So if you stick your tongue out at broccoli, it is likely that you child will too. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if your child sees you eating right and exercising, it sends the message that good health is important to your family. Developing healthy habits early makes it that much easier to stay healthy as an adult!
Stop and Shop’s dietitian/nutritionist, Julie Menounos, is available at their Chelmsford, Massachusetts store and offers in-store consultations for $25, in which you get back in the form of a $25 gift card. She also provides personalized grocery shopping, monthly store tours, kids classes, cooking demos, community events, and corporate lunch and learns. You can find her at StopandShop.com.