Tag Archives: Snacks

Make Better Choices at the Vending Machine: Learn the Munch Code!

With so many food options available to people on the go, it’s hard to know what a good choice is, especially when it comes to vending machines, snack bars and concession stands.

The Munch Code is a color coded labeling program reminding us that snacks in the GREEN category are the healthiest and we can “Eat a bunch!” YELLOW foods may have added sugar, fat or calories and we should be careful to have “Just a little!” Foods falling into the RED category are on the “Not so much!” list and should be avoided.

The Vending Munch Code (South Dakota Healthier Vending and Snack Bar Toolkit) was developed to help make it easier to choose the right snacks.

Our hope is, that over time, this simple color code will make it easier for anyone who snacks between meals to make healthier choices that can ultimately impact their health. When we snack healthier, we eat healthier!

Visit the Munch Code Vending section on Healthy SD for more information!

Feeding Preschoolers

Feeding your preschooler can be challenging at times. Since one in four children between the ages of two and five are at risk of being overweight, healthy eating is extremely important. Children this age need the same variety of foods in their diets as older children and adults. The portion sizes are about half the size of adult portions. It’s usually not a good idea to use restaurant portion sizes as these are typically much larger than the recommended amounts. Too often preschoolers consume excessive amounts of sugar and juice, and not enough whole fruits and vegetables. The following are the suggested daily nutrition guidelines for preschoolers from ChooseMyPlate.gov:

  • Grains: About 3 to 4 ounces, preferably half of them whole grains.
  • Vegetables: 1 to 1 ½ cups raw or cooked vegetables. Be sure to offer a variety!
  • Fruits: 1 cup fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits. Try to limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces a day.
  • Dairy: 2 to 2 ½ cups. Whole milk is recommended for children under 2. Older children can have lower-fat options like low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese.
  • Protein: 2 to 3 ounces Choices are lean meat, poultry, fish, an egg, cooked beans, and peanut butter
  • Oils: About 3 teaspoons of liquid oil or margarine

Preschoolers need about 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day to help them grow and stay healthy. Restrictive diets for children in this age group are inappropriate. They need fat, calories, and carbohydrates in order to support healthy development. One of the biggest challenges parents may face in feeding their preschooler is finding foods their child will eat.

Preschoolers can be very picky eaters. They may be afraid of trying new foods, or simply may not want to try them. As a result, preschoolers may miss out on valuable vitamins and nutrients needed for growth and development. Providing your preschooler with two to three healthy snacks daily can help curb hunger and crankiness. Healthy snacks can also help fill in nutritional gaps. Give children healthy snack options to choose from. It’s important to continue to offer healthy foods, such as new fruits and vegetables, to your preschooler. It may take several times before the new food is accepted. Try serving low-fat milk or water with snacks, instead of sugar-sweetened beverages or soda. It’s also important to remember that children are more likely to develop positive eating habits when parents and caregivers demonstrate and encourage healthy eating.

Source: SDSU Extension; Nutrition for Preschoolers

Healthy South Dakota Concessions Model Policy

This policy was developed to assist local communities in improving the concession stand (or c-stand) nutrition environment and to promote healthy eating among youth and families. Whether you are a contracted concessionaire, a youth sports program leader or coach, a civic volunteer, an involved parent, parks and recreation staff member, school employee, or other community leader who operates or assists with a local concession stand, you’ll find a variety of tools to help improve the food and beverage offerings at your local concession stand.


Energy Drinks & Food Bars: Power or Hype?

The Buzz on Energy Foods

Energy drinks and nutrition bars often make big promises. Some say they’ll increase energy and alertness, others offer extra nutrition, and some even claim to boost your athletic performance or powers of concentration.

But once you cut through the hype and look past the flashy packaging on energy products, chances are what you’re mostly getting is a stiff dose of sugar and caffeine.

So should you eat or drink these products? The occasional energy drink is probably OK, and a protein bar in the morning is a better choice than not getting any breakfast at all. But people who have about three or four energy drinks and a couple of protein bars every day are overdoing it. Continue reading.

Source: TeensHealth.org; Energy Drinks and Food Bars: Power or Hype?