Friday, September 12, 2008

First keepers club

Today we enjoyed our first Keepers and Contenders club of the new year. This officially launches our second year and we look with excitement into the year ahead.

Today I led a focus on nutrition and exercise.

Here is a run down of what we covered and some of the resources that I found helpful in preparing and teaching this lesson.

Even young children can begin to understand the importance of eating healthy and staying active. We had a variety of fruits and vegetables to sample and it seemed that the students were more willing to try something they found unfamiliar away from the formality of a dinner table. Many of them enjoyed or at least tried the beets, green pepper, arugula, and other samples available. Of course, our sunflower seeds were a hit as well.

We opened our time with a discussion of the spiritual significance of taking care of our body.

- We read from Daniel 1, the verses surrounding verse 12. After just 10 days of eating vegetables and water, Daniel and his friends showed a clear improvement over their counterparts. He definitely saw eating well as part of obedience to God.

- We also looked at I Cor. 6:19 Which stresses the importance of remembering that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are not our own.

I had found a few helpful books at the library that covered vitamins and minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates. (those links will take you to a view of the books that I used). These were packed with information, so we just skimmed them together. I hope to go through some of them in more detail with my children at a later time.

We talked about the names of the vitamins (easy to remember since they correlate to letters of the alphabet.

The most interactive conversation we had involved foods we should avoid:
-French fries
-White bread
-Funnelcakes (of course my kids had to bring this up . . .)
-High fructose corn syrup
-Hydrogenated oils

Foods to seek out (I forgot to mention some of these. As with all best laid plans, something always gets left out, *sigh*):

-Sweet potatoes
-Wild salmon
-Whole grains
-Dark greens (spinach, kale)
-Citrus fruits
-Black raspberries
-Flax Seeds
-Green Leafy Vegetables

I found a concise chart of nutritional content of some common fruits and vegetables.
fruit face
We talked about eating a rainbow

- I found a couple helpful sites on "rainbow eating."

- One of them came from a camp's website.

- Family Fun also had a page about eating a diverse selection of produce.

- My favorite page on eating a rainbow comes from a site geared toward people with disabilities and offered a good visual explanation of this concept.

I had samples of different colors of foods, mostly from our garden and we discussed making healthy choices.

MyPyramid food plans are designed for the general public ages 2 and over; they are not therapeutic diets. Those with a specific health condition should consult with a health care provider for a dietary plan that is right for them.

After the samples, the kids each got the supplies to put together a health notebook. I encouraged them to keep track of what they eat each day for the next month and decide if they eat healthy or if they could improve a little bit. They also each got a handout on the pyramid and the nutritional content charts.

Then we moved on to exercise . . .

We read the book Get some exercise! by Angela Royston. Although this is clearly directed at a fairly young audience, it gave a concise explanation of the benefits of exercise and covered everything I wanted to cover (warming up, stretches, choosing to be active, etc.)

We talked briefly about different exercises:

- calisthenics (jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups)
- aerobic (running, walking, bike riding, swimming, gymnastics, dancing)

They were then encouraged to create an exercise routine that they could perform at least three times a week and write it down.

Then, we put it into practice and stretched, grabbed a drink of water, and went for a run around the lake out front. The track is about 1/5 of a mile and many of them made it most of the way around. One boy even took a second lap. We reviewed the need to cool down as they walked around a smaller section of sidewalk before wrapping up club for the day.

This topic may not offer the most exciting club, but I think it is an important topic to keep fresh in their minds. They did a great job staying attentive and absorbing the material.

I love Keepers Club and the opportunity to cover all those 'extra' topics in a fun, but organized format that provides interaction with others and rewards as well.

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