Throughout the year, people celebrate a number of different holidays. Be Black Friday or Thanksgiving, people have assigned almost every single day to any holiday that they could think of. But what’s so special about chocolate to have a day for it?
World Food Day is observed on the 16th of October each year. This day is celebrated to honor the date when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was founded in 1935. It is also recognized to raise awareness about hunger, as well as encourage the public to take action is to help eliminate world hunger.
The World Food Day is celebrated by organizing food drives and distributing free meals for the homeless and less fortunate. If you have the heart to participate in this holiday, here are some of the ways you can take a stand against hunger and make a difference.
Take a photo of your meal and share it on social media
If you think taking photos of your sumptuous meals and uploading them on the social media is meaningless, then you have been thinking wrong. By sharing photos of your meals, you are also literally sharing your food. All you have to do is to download FoodShareFilter or Feedie. Both applications were designed to help fight global hunger. Every time photos of food are shared using the app, the restaurant donates a meal to an organization called the Lunchbox Fund that provides meals for orphaned children in South Africa.
Volunteer in your local community garden
Food scarcity and insecurity affect people living in poverty and those who have limited access to healthy and fresh food. Help make a difference by volunteering in your local urban garden. Address hunger by getting outside, by connecting with people, and by distributing fresh produce to people who need it most.
Participate in local community events
There are plenty of local events you can participate in if you want to help fight hunger in your community. Search World Food Day USA on Google to find some ways you can help. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities: packing meals for the homeless, walking for hunger, or helping out in a soup kitchen to name a few. No matter how big or small, your efforts will make a difference. However, you help out will be valuable for the nourishment of those who are in need. So serve your community by giving your time and efforts.
Help improve the quality of school lunches
In different parts of the United States and throughout the world, a school lunch or breakfast may be the only full meal a student eats in a day. The sad part is that these meals do not always contain important nutrients a child needs for growth and development. By improving the quality of food at schools, children can enjoy better health and improve their academic performance.
Did you know that by treating yourself with your favorite food at your favorite restaurant, you are also making a difference in the world’s problem with hunger and food scarcity? So go ahead and invite a friend for a meaningful and sumptuous meal. As soon as the check arrives, donate the cost of your meal by joining the #HungerFree movement. This movement is organized to help fight hunger in South Sudan, Kenya, and many other parts of the globe.
Attend an event
If you are looking for other ways to participate in World Food Day, you can visit foodday.org and enter your zip code to find an event near you. It doesn’t matter which event you choose, whether you dine or donate, the important thing is that you are helping spread awareness. You are also encouraging people to join the fight against hunger.
Food scarcity and hunger may seem to be overwhelming global problems. But if we all decide to take action, even in our little ways, and become advocates for health and food, we can all make a difference to make this world a better place.
Everybody celebrates Independence Day in July. But, what many people don’t know is that we also celebrate National Picnic Month in July, too! Going for a picnic is an excellent time to embrace nature and breathe in fresh air. It is also a great opportunity to bond with friends, family and loved ones. While a picnic is understood as a simple excursion with meals eaten outdoors, there are some interesting facts about the origin of picnic that not many of us are aware of.
- The word picnic was taken from the French word “pique nique” which refers to an outdoor meal. The first picnics took place in the Middle Ages when the members of the upper class society would “dine out” or eat their meals outdoors during a hunt.
- The first recorded use of “picnic”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was in a letter written by Lord Chesterfield to his son in Berlin in 1748. The word picnic here was used in the sense of a social gathering.
- In the early 1800’s, picnic was already being used to refer to a social meal eaten outdoors.
June has been proclaimed as the Great Outdoors Month. This is perfect time to share the glory of nature with your child!
There are plenty of reasons why you should pack your stuff and enjoy the Great Outdoors with your kids. Here are just a few of them:
1. Manage Your Kid’s Excessive Use of Technology
There are so many distractions these days competing for your child’s attention. Gadgets, video games, the Internet, you name it, they’re all out there. And you know, once your child gets their hands on any of it, they give it their undivided attention.
There’s nothing wrong with exposing your kids to technology. But too much of anything can negatively impact your kid, physically, socially and emotionally.
What is alarming though, is how children spend so much less time outside the home and seldom interact with kids their age. (Sometimes, they don’t even talk to their own parents!) Technology is creating a reclusive generation who’d rather spend time in front of a mobile phone or a computer monitor. Even recess has been reduced or eliminated at many schools, further reducing the time spent outside.
Want to prevent this gloom and doom horizon? You can, if you manage how your kids use technology. Giving them interesting alternatives such as exploring the Great Outdoors tops the list.
If you have limited time because of work, look into having your child attend a child care program. There are child care centers that offer outdoor activities in their curriculum.
“Invest in Yourself – Buy Nutrition” was the theme for the first National Nutrition Month. It was created in 1973 by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA is known now as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It actually started as a week long to begin with, but has expanded to a full month to reach more people.
This month of awareness is meant to help everyone focus on the many benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, of which nutrition plays a key part.
There are a lot of ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month both at home and at school. Looking for the best way to help the information be effective and stick? Make it fun!
Here are a few ideas to help you get started.:
Create a theme for each week which focuses on a particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
Week One – MyPlate – what it is and how it can help you eat healthy food
Week Two – Why choose whole grains?
Week Three – How to read nutrition labels
Week Four – Get moving every day!
Supermarket scavenger hunt
Take a class field trip to the local supermarket (or parents, take your kids shopping with you) and make a game out of finding healthy food choices.
Using an “I spy” type of game, give the kids clues about the food you’re talking about.
For example, you could say, “I spy something orange, it grows in the ground and is a bunny’s favorite food”.
Or, “I see something that’s bright red, grows on a tree and is delicious in a pie.”
Another way to have fun learning about nutrition? Have the older kids come up with their own clues that they can then share with the younger ones!
Make your own plate
Using MyPlate as a reference, give each child three paper plates. Cut out images of food from magazines, or use some grocery ads. Ask them to put together three healthy meals (e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Once they’ve completed their meals, discuss the reasons why they chose the foods they did. When applicable, ask them what would have been a better option. Discuss portion size too!
Combine efforts where possible. Get the entire school or family involved in supporting your efforts. One way is to coordinate what you teach in the classroom – or at home – with the school nutrition staff.
In the cafeteria, focus on a healthy food choice each day. Hang up posters showing a particular food item. Include the nutritional benefits, and show suggestions on how to serve the food.
At home, use a new food each week – or several times per week – in your family meals to expand your child’s palate. This helps open up discussions about why some foods are healthier choices than others.
Note: The school’s website, social media, newsletters and morning announcements provide wonderful opportunities to share information and reminders about what makes a healthy food choice.
Think about people in your network who can add to the conversation about nutrition. Know a local chef? Ask them to come in and discuss how they prepare foods for their clients. A physician or a personal trainer can discuss the impact of eating foods that give you energy.
Partner with the local library to provide nutritional education opportunities through story time events, coloring contests and/or activity sheets for kids.
Get kids involved in a food donation campaign to your local food pantry or shelter.
Put together a lesson plan discussing the science behind baking. Discuss what ingredients are needed, why they’re needed and what happens when they’re used.
Classroom and/or school vegetable projects. Have kids choose their favorite vegetable, and plant the seed in a small container. Have them take it home with them at the end of the school year so that they can plant it somewhere at home (assuming the season is right for planting!)
As you can see there are a lot of ways you can drive home the importance of a healthy lifestyle, while making it fun and memorable.
February is National Snack Food Month. This is the perfect opportunity to show your kids how healthy snacks are the best snacks for their growing minds and bodies!
Let’s face it, kids aren’t always enthusiastic about healthy eating.
But both parents and educators know the more interested and involved a kid is with what they’re trying to do, the more enthusiastic and engaged they’ll be.
This makes for easy teaching and better retention – a win-win for kids and the ones teaching them!
And it is possible to get them interested in trying new foods – if you make “fun” the name of the game!
They’re watching you
Like it or not, your kids are always watching what you do.
If they see Mom and Dad choose – and enjoy – healthy foods and beverages, they may be more open to trying something new.
Focus on the food’s benefits
Talk about the benefits of the food on your child’s plate, not the fact that it’s “healthy”. The idea that something is “healthy” is a distant concept for a child, especially young children. Tell them something like “the cheese will give you strong muscles” or “make you powerful”, or whatever phrase you think will appeal to your child.
If they have a favorite superhero or sports figure, try to find a way to tie their attributes (e.g. strength, speed, etc.) to the benefit of eating the food.
Think color, crunch, and healthy fats.
Make the food as appealing to the eye as possible:
- combine different colors
- use different cuts (e.g. round disks vs thin strips)
- try different flavors (mozzarella, cheddar)
- cut and/or arrange into fun shapes
Make it a game
Take the kids grocery shopping. Ask them to help find vegetables and fruits in every color of the rainbow.
Once you’re home, have them help you prepare the foods for quick snacking options throughout the week. Bagging their own portions helps them feel more involved.
Let them decide
To get kids more excited about eating healthy foods give them several healthy choices for at least one of their meals.
For example, if it’s lunchtime, let them choose among options such as pitas, wraps or English muffins made with whole grains. Offer lean ham, turkey or chicken and low-fat cheese slices for the filling.
Let them help
Research has shown that kids who spend time in the kitchen will choose a wider variety of foods and tend towards decisions which are healthier.
Give your kids age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen to expose them to all of the aspects of their food preparation. When possible, let them put together their own meals as they’re much more likely to eat their own creations!
Research has shown that it takes as many as 15 tries before a kid will try a new food. So if they turn their nose up at a new food, keep introducing it and eventually they will give it a try. Even if they don’t like it the first time they try it, over time their taste buds develop and change. They may grow to like it.
There are thousands of great, healthy snack ideas for kids. Here are just a few:
- “Ants on a log” (celery filled with peanut butter and raisins)
- Fresh or canned fruit (canned in 100% juice) served with low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat cheese sticks or cubes
- Whole grain crackers or rice cakes topped with peanut butter or thin cheese slices
- Popcorn (air-popped)
- Quesadillas (whole wheat tortilla stuffed with low-fat melted cheese)
- Baked tortilla chips
- Whole wheat pita bread with hummus
- Fresh fruit
- Homemade trail mix (portioned)
Set the rules
Give them beverage choices such as water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice (portioned) to keep them hydrated. Require they ask before they grab a snack.
To promote mindful eating, insist that snacks be eaten at the table or in the kitchen, not in front of the TV or computer.
Getting kids interested in eating healthy foods isn’t always easy, but it is always worth the effort!
Every kid should have something they enjoy doing outside of school. National Hobby Month is a great way to help your child explore hobbies he may not be aware of!
Adults aren’t the only ones who benefit from having a hobby.Hobbies are an enjoyable way to gain new skills and learn something new about yourself and the world around you.Children who excel at something grow to perform well at other tasks because of the confidence they gain from their hobbies.
When your child enjoys one or more hobbies she will:
- Develop strong social and emotional skills
- Grow academically
- Learn to be more patient
- Gain a sense of accomplishment which leads to confidence in other areas
- Develop willpower, concentration, determination and dedication
- Learn how to set – and meet – goals
- Feel more confident when asked to try new things
- Develop good reading habits by actively participating in a hobby; not sitting passively and being entertained (e.g. reading vs watching tv)
Kids who excel at something tend to define themselves by what they’re good at. For example, think back to your school days.
Maybe you had someone in your class who always had his head in an engine fixing up old cars, or maybe your friend always knew the best fishing holes.
Each kid was the best at his particular hobby, and because he loved it so much – and grew to be competent at it – he became an authority among his peers.
What do your kids enjoy doing?
Your kids are probably already enjoying a hobby, but they may not think of it in those terms. For our purposes, a hobby is simply defined as an activity done outside of work or school that you enjoy doing.You may have thought of some things your kids love to do already. But are there other things they have shown an interest in that you can explore this month?
How to help your child explore her interests
Take some time this month to brainstorm ideas with your child. Encourage her to think of all the hobbies that people do, all across the globe.Then, narrow down the list to those things which interest her as well as those things you believe she might enjoy if she gave them a try.
Ask her to choose which one she’d like to try first and help her get started. Of course, some hobbies may be more realistic – such as stamp collecting or scrapbooking – than others, such as falconry or deep sea diving! So it’s important to discuss all the factors that go into choosing a hobby.
Even if it’s not practical to help your child start a particular hobby, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the idea. Look for videos and/or articles about people doing the hobby(ies) that interest your child.
National Hobby Month is the perfect opportunity to take some time to help your children explore different hobbies. They’ll never know what they can do until they try it!
It’s often thought of as tacky, but is it really?
Re-gifting is the practice of individuals giving unused gifts that they received from others.
Declared a national holiday by money management website Regiftable.com, National Re-gifting day is celebrated each year on the third Thursday in December.
The date was chosen because it’s when companies are most likely to hold their office holiday parties giving individuals the chance to offload unwanted or unused gifts.
Re-gifting as a teaching tool
At first glance you might not believe that re-gifting offers any benefit…other than perhaps cleaning out your closets, but this common practice gives parents and child care educators the perfect opportunity to teach kids how to share.
Gift giving is a way to show someone that you care. Help children to understand that giving someone a gift is not a way to “show off”, so there’s no need to spend more than your budget allows.
In fact, in classroom situations, teachers set a limit on the amount each student can spend to avoid the chance of any hurt feelings.
To help children connect with the purpose of gift giving, ask each child about the last present they received. Who gave it to them? How did it make them feel?
Discuss what the other person must have been thinking when they gave it to them and ask what they think this person might like to receive from them.
The other side of giving is, of course, receiving.
Remind each child that the intent behind gift giving is many times more important than the actual gift itself and to show their appreciation.
After all, it really is the thought that counts.
Re-gifting something that someone else would use and enjoy is also good for the planet.
Include the idea of regifting when discussing the topic of recycling with your class. It provides a concrete example that’s easy for children to understand.
Have your class take part in community gift giving efforts such as Toys for Tots.
Take the opportunity to discuss just how much of an impact they can make in the lives of other kids, just like them, who may not have as great of a Christmas as they will.
Re-giving do’s and don’ts
Etiquette is important if you choose to regift. Following are some commonly accepted “rules” when regifting:
- You must be transparent about the gift – don’t pass it off as a newly purchased item.
- The item should be unopened, in its original packaging.
- Don’t re-gift handmade items.
- Don’t unload something unless you know the recipient will have a good use for it.
- Remove the gift tag first!
- Don’t re-gift something your child received from someone special…instead, have them use it when the gift giver is around to show their appreciation (e.g. the bunny suit in The Christmas Story!)
- Avoid re-gifting within the same social circle.
- Don’t re-gift something unless you know exactly who gave it to you.