Fitness Friday–Healthy Summer Snacks

Short on time but want to have yummy, healthy snacks?  Let this guide help you out!

As summer approaches and schedules get turned a bit upside down (especially when kids are out of school), finding good, healthy, tasty snacks to fuel your days can seem a bit intimidating. 

Have no fear! 

Below is a collection of recipes, ideas, and tips for making sure that your snacks are healthy, delicious, and able to fuel your healthy lifestyle!

Healthy Snack Tips: Follow this tips to ensure smart snacking!

  • Prepare snacks in advance to ensure portion control and quality
  • Always have an extra healthy snack with you to avoid unhealthy temptations  
  • When looking for prepared snacks, carefully examine ingredients, especially sugar content.  In general, look for products where you can pronounce all of the ingredients.
  • When short on time, fruit, veggie sticks, and nuts/seeds are great options!
  • Don’t forget to drink water!!!  Unsweetened ice tea is always a refreshing option.

Healthy Snack Ideas: Here are some quick ideas for delicious and nutritious snacks!

  • Cut up veggie sticks (carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, etc.)
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Veggies and (healthy) guacamole
  • Fruit: bananas, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples, pears, organs, etc.
  • Apple slices with some cinnamon sprinkled on top
  • Nuts & Seeds (be sure to be careful with portions!)
  • All-fruit (and veggie) smoothies

Recipes: If you are feeling adventurous, these are some great recipes to try!

Apple Chips

Cranberry Chocolate Power Bars

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet Potato Fries

“Fruit by the Foot”

Grain Free Graham Crackers

Mini Frittata Muffins

Homemade Trail Mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together nuts & seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) with a touch of coconut oil and seasonings. I also like to add some dried coconut.  

3. Place on foil-lined baking sheet.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

 

 

Advertisements

Community Post–Finding your Sweaty T-Shirt

Happy National Running Day! 

For this Community Post, I reflect on my personal journey—with fitness, running, teaching, and KidFit.  I love that I get to share this on National #RunningDay since running has played such as transformative and important role in my life.  Enjoy!  

🙂 Maggie

 


 

What is your Sweaty T-Shirt? Helping Students Find Their Way

It was fifth grade and I was going on my first road run.  Coming from a family of runners, this was a big deal.  I could not wait to run like the “big kids.”  It was probably only 2-3 miles, but to me, it was my “marathon”—a huge challenge that I had to work to overcome.   The run was tough, but I pushed through it.  And I was proud.

As we were stretching after the run, my Coach all of a sudden got very serious.

He pointed to his t-shirt and said, “THIS (sweaty t-shirt)…this is what you should look like.  If you don’t have THIS, you can push yourself harder.”

Ever the perfectionist, I looked down and saw (with relief!) that I did, in fact, have a sweaty t-shirt. Mission Accomplished!

At the time, I did not think much of it, but the story has stuck with me.  It was not about being the fastest runner, but rather about trying your best—no matter what.  To my coach, that meant working so hard that you had a sweaty t-shirt—a visible manifestation of hard work, showing that you were on path to reach your personal goals.  

I have never been the fastest, strongest or best when it comes to athletics. In fact, I identify myself as an “athlete by choice—not design.” Despite my lack of natural ability, however, I have always had DRIVE—the guts and grit to never give it, despite any physical/mental challenges that come my way.  Growing up, this meant that I often got the often considered less desirable awards at end-of-season celebrations— “most determined,” “most improved,” “most enthusiastic.”  I was never the MVP, but I took pride in my hard work. 

This mindset has stuck with me.  I remember a moment in my first year of teaching when I had simply had enough.  I was stressed, unpleasant to be around, and generally not happy.  Then, I made the decision to truly prioritize fitness and exercise; at the time, my routine had been spotty at best.  I signed up for my first half marathon, joined a gym, and made exercise/fitness a daily routine.  The change was practically instantaneous.  Once I took care of myself and invited fitness back into my life, I was a transformed person.  I was happier, a better roommate, a better friend, and definitely a better teacher.  I made the choice to be an athlete as an adult and have never looked back.

Despite my own personal revelation with the importance of fitness, I was frustrated with the lack of meaningful opportunities for my students to get active. They had PE once, maybe twice a week for less than an hour, a handful of afterschool athletic opportunities, and very little chances to play outside at home due to unsafe conditions. 

This did not seem fair. 

They were in school for 8 (or more!) hours a day with very little movement.  As an adult, I needed to move around and required exercise before or after work in order to function as a happy, productive person.  Yet my kids did not have this chance.  As a teacher, I tried to incorporate movement into my lessons, but the truth was that I did not have the time to plan anything truly meaningful or purposeful, especially as a young teacher.

So, over time, with students and teachers always at the forefront of my mind, the idea for KidFit emerged.

KidFit Academy works with teachers to provide a program that seamlessly integrates purposeful fitness throughout the school day.  We do this by empowering teachers with the materials and support needed to promote health, enhance academics, and improve classroom culture through purposeful fitness education.

This is not a Band-Aid solution but rather a holistic approach to change what the school day looks like by adding meaningful, strategic activity brain breaks at critical moments throughout the day. Our teachers seamlessly integrate the program so that it becomes an integral part of the school day, not an “extra” that is taken away or skipped when things get busy.  In current and past programs, teachers have seen their students and classrooms truly thrive.  KidFit teaches kids to love fitness and view it simply as a part of their day; it is not about winning or being the best, it is about working hard, setting goals, and having fun! 

Through KidFit, teachers are helping kids find their “sweaty t-shirt”— the manifestation of their hard work, the thing that shows them that they are on the way to achieving their goals.

So, I ask (appropriately on National Running Day), what is your sweaty t-shirt? 

Fitness Friday Post–Morning Energizers: The Best Way to Start Your Day

KidFit Academy’s program empowers teachers to embed short, purposeful bursts of energy, in the form of 10 minute activity brain breaks, at strategic moments throughout the day. 

Whenever I talk about KidFit, I typically get the same reaction from most adults: I need that!  As a society, we sit too much—kids and adults alike.  Our bodies and brains perform better when we move around more, we become happier, AND it helps break up monotony of the day (especially if you are on your computer a lot, which so many of us are).

Therefore, for today’s Fitness Friday, I wanted to share a “Morning Energizer” plan that adults can do. My husband and I have been doing morning energizers for a little over a month now, and I have to say that it has made a big difference!  We complete them right after we wake up and it helps get us pumped for the day.

I encourage and challenge you to use the energizer workouts below or create your own! Then, complete them every morning when you first wake up.  Trust me; your body will thank you!

As with any habit/exercise program, it is much easier to complete with someone else, so enlist an accountability buddy to complete the energizers with you (in person or virtually).

Happy Fitness Friday and have a great weekend!

 


EXAMPLE Morning Energizer Routine: We include 4 types of exercises: (1) big muscle group, (2) core exercise, (3) glute exercise, and (4) a bonus workout! Use the routines below and/or create your own.  Challenge yourself to complete one at least every weekday morning or do them every day!

Example Energizer #1:

  • 25 push ups
  • 25 leg lifts
  • 25 one-legged bridges, each leg
  • 25 side thrusts, each side: (1) Start in low side plank with feet stacked; (2) Move hips up and down

Example Energizer #2:

  • 25 squats
  • 15 ab wheels
  • 25 fire hydrants (each side)
  • 2 x 10 high to low planks, alternating first arm: (1) Start in high plank and move to low plank, one arm at a time; (2) Move back up to high plank, one arm at a time

Energizer #3

  • 15 lunges (each leg)
  • 25 clams (each leg)
  • 50 slow bicycles
  • 25 arm dips

Community Post—Meet Amie, KidFit Academy teacher extraordinaire!

“[KidFit] is a great way to introduce scholars to fitness, healthy choices, and character skills they can easily transfer to academics. It builds and supports the kind of classroom community where students are engaged, invested, and challenged.”

-Amie L.

Notes from the Field: An Interview with a KidFit Academy Teacher

We are extremely excited to introduce an amazing kindergarten teacher using KidFit in her classroom.  She has been using the program for about 2 months and already sees a HUGE difference in her classroom.  Read on to learn more!

Introducing….

Amie L., kindergarten and KidFit Academy teacher at Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy in Oakland, CA

Image

KF: Tell us about yourself. 

AL: After completing my B.S. and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I joined Teach For America and taught second grade for three years in Phoenix, Arizona; then moved to Sacramento to be part of the founding staff at Capitol Collegiate Academy. I currently teach Kindergarten at Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy in Oakland, where I co-chair the Multicultural Committee and founded a chapter of Girls On The Run. I have experience in creating and implementing curriculum, providing support and professional development for new teachers, and leading school-wide committees. In my personal time, I enjoy going to A’s games, hiking, traveling, and cooking; I also organize and manage online challenge/support groups for fitness and clean eating.

KF: What inspired you to use KidFit Academy in your classroom?

AL: As an active, kinesthetic learner myself, I am always searching out ways to engage my students’ entire bodies in the learning process. After doing a lot of research on my own about brain breaks, I was looking for a structured program that would teach fitness skills. After hearing about KidFit, I was excited to implement a program that also taught character-building skills like focus, confidence, determination, goal-setting and grit.

KF: Describe a typical day using KidFit in your classroom.

AL: I implement KidFit in addition to our regularly scheduled recess. At 9:30am, right before recess, I take my scholars outside to do the Morning Circuit. After lunch, at noon, we complete the Mid-Day Yoga Circuit, which gets them calm and focused for reading and writing. During the afternoon, usually right before an integrals class such as Music, Art, or PE, the scholars complete a Mid-Afternoon Circuit.

KF: What has changed in your classroom as a result of using KidFit?

AL: Within days of implementing KidFit, I saw a difference in behavior in my classroom. The Morning Circuit helps to get out a lot of energy and when the students come back inside, as they transition to Centers, I have seen them become a lot quieter and more focused during that time. The Mid-Afternoon Circuit has provided a similar outlet, and they really like getting a chance to move. The Mid-Day Yoga Circuit has been the most transformative part of KidFit for my classroom. The scholars show incredible calm and focus after completing the Yoga Circuit and I have observed their ability to sustain quiet writing and reading time increase dramatically. The character building skills have been an important addition to our day, as well. I weave the language into Morning Message and my directions throughout the day. Students are starting to use the common language to encourage each other. Behavior has also improved, particularly for scholars who could have been labeled “hyper-active” and/or “disruptive” prior to this program.

KF: What was the students’ reaction to the program?

AL: They love it! Especially the yoga. When we learned about writing expository How-To pieces, most scholars wrote at least one piece about how to do various yoga poses. They have taken ownership of the shout-outs at the end of the routines and are starting to help each other with form during all of the circuits. Students from other classes ask to join in!

KF: What kind of response have you gotten from the parents? From other teachers at your school?

AL: Parents have been supportive and a few have come to observe. Other teachers at the school have told me they see/hear us and that it looks like a great program!

KF: What advice would you have for other teachers considering using the program?

AL: Give it a try! It is a great way to introduce scholars to fitness, healthy choices, and character skills they can easily transfer to academics. It builds and supports the kind of classroom community where students are engaged, invested, and challenged.

KF: What is the biggest impact that you have seen as a result of using KidFit?

AL: I can’t pick just one! Scholars are increasingly able to focus quietly for longer periods of time, they are using positive self-talk to encourage themselves and others, and we are having lots of fun. Health, fitness, and character development are all areas I am passionate about, and I am excited that KidFit allows me to share all of these things with my scholars in 3 10-minute chunks per day!

Thanks Amie for all of your fabulous work!  You are truly amazing. 

Coming soon….

KidFit Academy is happy to announce several new, exciting ways to keep in touch with us on our blog!  We have the best supporters and cannot wait to serve you all even better. Be sure to stay tuned! 🙂 

Community Spotlight: In order to showcase the fabulous work of KidFit teachers, volunteers,school leaders, supporters, and staff, we will be doing a weekly feature of various stakeholders.  Stay tuned for interviews, stories, profiles, and lots of pictures and videos! Trust us, you will not want to miss all of the AMAZING work!  It is truly inspiring. 

Fitness Fridays: KidFit is happy to announce the return of Fitness Fridays!  Each week, we will post exercises, fitness tip, healthy recipe, and/or other ways to live a healthier, more active lifestyles.  With summer soon approaching, these will serve as a great way to stay connected to KidFit AND get more active with your friends and family! 

 

Stay tuned for more ways to build strength of mind, body, and character! 

Videos for Change: Perseverance Day 5

How can we use perseverance in our daily lives?

Listen to KidFit Academy founder share her answer. Feeling inspired? Comment and/or share a video of yourself answering the question.

Videos for Change is a crucial part of KidFit Academy’s program that brings an additional 30 minutes of purposeful movement to elementary school classrooms in the form of 3 “10 minute activity brain breaks” at strategic transitions throughout the school day. Each brain break opens with a one minute discussion of a guiding question that digs deeper and deeper into a weekly life skill, such as perseverance. As students and teachers get more active, they talk about how to use these skills in workouts, school, and life in general.

Stay tuned for more on KidFit Academy!

Videos for Change: Perseverance Day 2

Why is perseverance important?

Listen to KidFit Academy founder share her answer. Feeling inspired? Comment and/or share a video of yourself answering the question.

Videos for Change is a crucial part of KidFit Academy’s program that brings an additional 30 minutes of purposeful movement to elementary school classrooms in the form of 3 “10 minute activity brain breaks” at strategic transitions throughout the school day. Each brain break opens with a one minute discussion of a guiding question that digs deeper and deeper into a weekly life skill, such as perseverance. As students and teachers get more active, they talk about how to use these skills in workouts, school, and life in general.

Stay tuned for more on KidFit Academy!