When we set out to write our eNewsletter on health and wellness, we thought we’d find a ton of interactive sites and great info for parents. Though we did discover a lot of informational sites, we were hard pressed to find ones that hit the trifecta of being fun, resourceful and interactive. Luckily, thanks to people like Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver Tony’s Plate, and the Muppets of Sesame Street, all of that is changing. These fine folks (and Muppets) understand today’s caretakers are looking to the web for teaching tools and activities for kids. The sites listed below get a five-star rating from us; they are the peas to our corn, the dessert to our dinner.

 

Online Interactive Resources:

Tony’s Plate (US)

A while back, we tweeted about our friends at Tony’s Plate and their quest to win the Apps For Healthy Kids contest. While we’re still waiting to hear the results of the contest, we wanted to give you some background on this great Internet tool.

Tony is an average kid who happened to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2009. Tony’s dad, John, created Tony’s Plate calculator to keep track of what Tony eats and to keep him healthy. This calculator is the only one of its kind on the ‘net and it’s FREE! It’s not just for those with diabetes; it’s also a great resource for individuals, families and kids to keep track of nutrition information for meals and recipes. If you sign up (also free), you can store your recipes right on the site!

Check out this how-to video for more information on the Tony’s Plate calculator.

Tony’s Plate is also helping out with a new competition, “Recipes for Kids Challenge.” Do you have a meal idea you’d like to see implemented in school lunch programs across the nation? Click here for more details! Good luck!

 

Sesame Street Workshop (US/International)

There are many reasons why Sesame Street is, in our opinion, the best show for kids. But did you also know the Sesame Workshop is a great online resource center for parents and caretakers? Recently, Sesame Street launched an online initiative called Healthy Habits for Life, to help establish an easy and fun health regimen for kids. They also have a free, downloadable binder* (with online videos from the show) to help parents and caretakers teach kids everything from fun, physical games and activities, to building a salad, making healthy food choices and understanding the messages their bodies relay through songs like, “If You’re Hungry and You Know It.” This is the definite guide for kids ages 3 and up.

*Please note the downloadable binders are to the right of the website’s screen under “Downloads.”

 

Online Local/Global Initiatives:

The Edible Schoolyard (US)

The Edible Schoolyard (ESY) started as a one-acre cover crop garden in a vacant lot with once-monthly participation from the students of Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California. Now, more than a decade later, it is a thriving acre of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Now, each student at King Middle School attends 12 to 30 sessions in ESY in-school kitchen and garden classrooms, depending on grade level. ESY reaches each of the nearly 1,000 students at King Middle School.

The Edible Schoolyard is a program of the Chez Panisse Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by chef and author Alice Waters.

The program hosts over 1,000 visitors each year—from educators, to health professionals, to international delegates—and has inspired countless kitchen and garden programs. In 2005, ESY launched their first affiliate program in New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, they have a small network of Edible Schoolyard affiliate programs in cities across the country — and growing every year! To find out how your local school can start their own garden, check out their online link center and, for fun recipes and activities surrounding an edible garden, visit the ESY resource center.

 

Jamie’s School Dinners/Feed Me Better Campaign (UK)

In 2005, Jamie signed up to be a dinner lady to make school dinners at Kidbrooke school in Greenwich, UK. His goal was to show people the poor quality of food children were being fed at school and how little the government was spending to feed the children of the UK. Oliver’s goal was to “get rid of the junk.” As he states in the campaign overview, “I had to prove that, for the same price as a bag of crisps, just 37p, I could produce a properly cooked, nutritious meal at lunchtime.” From there, Jamie created the Feed Me Better Campaign to raise awareness over the dire situation of school dinners in the UK. The School Dinners page has links to resources on improving food at your school, lunch packing advice, and updates from Jamie. You can also download Nora’s Notes (Nora implements the school dinners program at the Kidbrooke school) on see how the school changed their menus and get some ideas for your home/school meals.

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