G3 Health and Fitness was a significant partner in the P.L.A.A.Y. (Promoting Lifelong Activity Among Adults and Youth!) grant to purchase a swing set.
The installation of the new Swing Set for Mill Creek Park, Willingboro, New Jersey was completed in September 2015. According to the Willingboro Recreation and Park Department a “swing set” is an important attraction and important “play time equipment” for all playgrounds.
P.L.A.A.Y. Shaping NJ Grant Partners: Willingboro Recreation and Parks Department, Burlington County Health Department, Pi Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, G3 Health & Fitness, Delilah Winder, Burlington County Community Action Program Head Start and Early Head Start.
From: New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness and Sports – August 2015
BACK TO SCHOOL
Like it or not, the end of summer is coming and it will soon be time to head back to school. As a classroom teacher, I see many students not starting the school year as well as they could which can have social and academic consequences later in the year. A good start in the classroom starts at the breakfast table. Here are my recommendations so students will perform their best each school day!
Choose Complex Carbohydrates (Carbs)
Carbohydrates are the main food source of fuel for the body and the brain. Inadequate carbohydrate intake may decrease mental acuity, memory and the ability to think logically and can lead to feelings of overall lethargy and fatigue. Complex carbs, like whole-grain foods, retain their nutrients including the vitamins needed for energy metabolism. Fiber helps ‘fill you up’ and decreases the risk of hunger cravings during the middle of your school day because it digests more slowly.
To understand this concept, think about building a fire. You could use lots of paper and magazines to get the flames very high and large quickly; however, this fire won’t burn for very long before becoming ashes. Fueling your fire with newspapers and magazines is essentially the same as eating a breakfast high in sugar resulting in a quick sugar rush and while you feel focused and attentive at the start, by the end of the 2nd class of the day, unfocused and yawning once the lights dim, the power point goes on in History, resulting in a C grade on the report card!
Instead, fuel your fire with pieces of wood that have a much longer burn and keep burning throughout a much longer period of time. Complex carbohydrates help energize students throughout the morning periods into the afternoon keeping them focused, alert and attentive – not burnt by the time the 2nd class ends with 3 more classes before ‘refueling’ at lunch period.
Keep it simple and make eating breakfast every day routine!
Create a breakfast with staying power using protein and carbohydrate combos. Breakfast is an ideal way to energize so there will be no sleeping in class.
Here are a few winning options for the most important meal of the day – BREAKFAST!
-Whole Grain Cold Cereal (i.e., Cheerios, Total, Wheaties, Kix) with fruit
-Hot Oatmeal with a banana & berries
-Eggs or Peanut Butter on Whole Grain Toast
Article by: Gian Paul Gonzalez, History School Teacher
Member, New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
March is “National Nutrition month” which was developed in 1973 as a way to increase the public’s awareness of good nutrition.
This years theme is “Enjoying the Taste of Eating Right” which encourages you to make healthy choices that also taste good so that you will enjoy what you eat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics directed me to a tip sheet about 20 ways to enjoy more fruits and veggies and I thought it had some great ideas. Here are a few ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your families diet. Find more tips at:
1. Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waﬄe.
2. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
3. Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana
4. Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla
G3 is committed to motivating youth to “Get Moving, Get Knowledge, Get Healthy and Strong”. Join us for fun fitness classes that include tasteful Nutrition lessons. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about ongoing classes for kids 8-13.
Yours in Health and Fitness,
Eating well is difficult enough in the comfort of one’s own home, but it can feel especially challenging on vacation. There are so many restaurants and snack stands, and if you’re traveling by air or train, you have to spend a lot of time stationary in close proximity to a lot of tempting food choices. What is a health-conscious person to do? Here are a few tips to keep you from blowing it in the food department when you go on a trip.
Airports and planes themselves can be major traps for unsuspecting travelers. Understand that those restaurants in the airport are preying upon your boredom and depending on the fact that you didn’t come prepared to deal with a long layover. The food is generally overpriced, and health is rarely a top consideration. If you must eat at one of these restaurants, at least spend some time walking around to get a sense of which offers the healthiest choices. This will also help you to get some exercise to offset what you are about to eat. Preferably, though, you should just eat a large meal before you leave home and pack some healthy snacks to enjoy when the hunger pangs start to flare up.
If you are staying in a hotel and are able to choose which hotel you stay in, do a little research beforehand to find out whether there are any eateries or food stores nearby. You should also find out from whoever is working at the hotel desk whether room service caters to those who specify dietary restrictions and whether it is permissible to bring a crock pot or other small cooking device into the room and use it. You should also learn whether there is a free breakfast available at the hotel, as this can get your day off to a good start nutritionally as long as you select the right things. Often times these things can be difficult to determine. Fortunately, I recently was searching for information regarding hotels and found a great site called Gogobot that lists consumer reviews for each option in the area. This proved extremely helpful when I traveled to Las Vegas and was able to see a list of reviews for Las Vegas hotels regarding not only their amenities and services, but also the restaurants in the surrounding area. This made it easier than ever to maintain my healthy lifestyle within and outside of the hotel even in the buffet ridden Sin City.
While you are making your way through the day on vacation, you should carry healthy snacks such as dried fruit and trail mix with you so that you can snack on those instead of giving in to the temptation of fast food restaurants and street vendors. It’s also a very good idea to carry bottled water with you and drink it whenever you get thirsty. Otherwise, you may be tempted to buy carbonated soft drinks, and too many of those sugary beverages can be very detrimental to your health and your waistline.
If you are traveling with others, explain to them that you are determined to eat healthy. Not everyone may share your goals, so don’t impose them on others, but insist upon eating in restaurants that include at least a few healthy meal options. Many restaurants have icons next to certain menu items indicating that they are low in sodium or good for heart health, so keep an eye out for these. As long as you respect the dietary choices of others, you should have no problem sticking to your good eating habits while you are on vacation.
Many years ago, as a newspaper reporter in New York, I wrote a series about living conditions among migrant laborers on Long Island. These people and their families lived in squalid labor camps in communities that were right next to the Hamptons, where some of the wealthiest people in America spent their summers. Although the workers passed their days picking potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables, they had little access to a balanced diet and no decent kitchens in which to prepare meals.
I thought until recently that this problem had been solved in our country. Then I became active in G3 Health and Fitness, a New Jersey not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing obesity in children, especially in Burlington and Gloucester Counties. I learned that one-third of children in America are obese and that the numbers for the counties where G3 does most of its work are hardly better. For example, 37% of non-Hispanic black children in Gloucester County are obese.
Particularly shocking is the fact that, in the middle of this epidemic of obesity, there is a parallel epidemic of hunger. One in four children in our country don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many of them go to school without breakfast, which has a major effect on their ability to learn. Don’t think that there aren’t plenty of these children in the communities right around us.
If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend that you watch a new documentary film called “A Place at the Table,” which tells the story of several American families and their struggle to give themselves decent food. This movie is available for free at Xfinity on Demand and I strongly urge you to see it.
As I said, obesity and hunger are actually related problems. Buying healthy fresh ingredients is actually more expensive than buying sugar and salt-filled fast food and snacks. Even for middle class families, and especially for working parents who have little time to prepare healthy meals, a diet almost guaranteed to make the family fat is difficult to avoid.
G3 has been working on this problem in many ways, with exercise classes, health and nutrition talks and other programs. Most recently, G3 instituted a 10-week program at the Kennedy Center in Willingboro to teach children and their parents about a healthy lifestyle. Most important, the program is designed to be fun, including dodge ball, kick boxing, Zumba, cooking demonstrations and other activities that all participants will love. The classes are taught by a registered dietician and a personal trainer.
Working together, we can solve the obesity and the hunger crisis, here and throughout America. Let’s get started.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
President Obama, in a joint action with Congress, signed a proclamation naming September “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month”. Obviously inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, the President says:
“Each of us can play a role in ensuring our children have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives, and by joining together in pursuit of that mission, I am confident we can build a brighter future for America’s youth.”
The statistics on soaring obesity rates in the US over the last four decades are sobering. Google “childhood obesity” to see the staggering number of children who are obese and the escalating toll it is taking on their health in terms of diabetes and hypertension. Further research will tell you about the relationship of obesity to bullying, educational malaise and the burden on our health care system.
It’s no coincidence that September was chosen as the month to raise awareness for Childhood Obesity. September marks the beginning of the school year and the season that we have the opportunity to help our children “Fall” into learning. So as they pick up pencils, binders, books and iPads, why shouldn’t they pick up some strategies to help them eat better and get some exercise? Just as we want their educational learning to last a lifetime it’s important that the lessons of healthy eating and active lifesytles last a lifetime too.
It is said that it takes a village to raise a kid, right? I would go a step further and say that everyone in the village has a role to play in raising healthy, active kids. If we commit some energy to this, we have a unique opportunity to turn the epidemic around. This September, let’s focus on our kids, our families, our communities and our schools and some easy, creative strategies to promote health and get kids moving.
Here’s what we can do:
* The Food Pyramid is out and the healthy plate is in! Put a copy of the healthy plate on your refrigerator and together with your kids meet the challenge of preparing healthy meals everyday. Find the healthy plate at ChooseMyPlate.gov .
*Use ChooseMyPLate.gov as a resource for healthy eating
*Limit tv and video game time to 1-2 hours a day. Get your kids walking the dog, or going to the playground. Get in on the fun and take a jog or throw a ball with them!
*Talk with your kids about what they eat outside of the home.
*Use “the method of the Grandmother”. Encourage your kids everytime they tell you about making a healthy food choice.
*Give your children chores. Sweeping, mopping, mowing the lawn and dusting burn calories too!
*Teachers and administrators be role models by leading an active lifestyle.
*School staff have lunch with the students and let them see your healthy food choices.
*Use a period to tie your teaching subject to nutritous eating.
*Use a period to take students for a walk or engage in some form of exercise.
*Introduce a fruit or vegetable in class, have the students do research on why that food is good for them.
*Check out the Healthier US School Challenge and plant a school garden.
*Challenge your school to provide healthier and more satisfies food choices for the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs.
*Host nutritional seminars in places of worship, youth centers and YMCA’s. Once again using ChooseMyPlate.gov for building healthy menus.
*Offer weekly exercise programs in your congregation, community centers and health facilities.
*Organize people and solicit organizations to create a community food garden. USDA has a People’s Garden Website that can help. www.usda.gov/peoplesgarden
*Nudge your local elected officials; they have a unique ability to act on our behalf when they know we exercise our voting rights!
* People and organizations build relationships with grocery stores and retailers for better access to healthy food in underserved areas.
The challenge in fighting this epidemic lies in the partnership between children and their parents or caregivers, their schools, and their communities. We all know that implementing changes and breaking unhealthy habits is not easy! Let’s start, this September, helping children understand the importance of making healthy choices and staying active. Our collective actions will ensure a healthy future for us all.
G3 Health and Fitness, Inc. spent a part of Earth Day – April 22nd – with an energetic Girl Scouts troop from the Burlington-Camden County area. The Girl Scouts, some of their moms and leaders participated in a lively, fun, and educational, free fitness Jamboree held at the Kennedy Center in Willingboro, NJ.
G3 volunteers, dedicated to the fight against childhood obesity and to helping families, led all of the sessions.
Vikki, a skilled trainer and G3 leader, got the group fired up with Zumba, a Latin-inspired fitness dance party. By the end of the session, group members had boosted their metabolism …. doing it to hip-hop and Cumbia music.
Nicole, a spunky, registered dietitian, brought a fresh, interactive learning approach, which encouraged the girls to look for ways to eat healthier.
Sue, another G3 leader and expert trainer, directed the group with gentle Yoga poses, designed to relax their muscles and decreased their heart rate.
After such an impactful fitness workshop on Earth Day, I thought about the parallels between the “Earth Day” and “Let’s Move” initiatives. Just as the environmental movement was mobilized in Congress by a bi-partisan effort to establish Earth Day, so has First Lady Michelle Obama started a national movement to take better care of our bodies with healthier diets and more physical activity. Evidence of Earth Day’s success can be seen in widespread recycling, creation of the EPA, toxic substance controls and other environmental actions. Mrs. Obama’s initiative is starting a movement that crosses generations. “Let’s Move” has been successful in passing the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which provides that all children have access to healthier foods at school. With this act, the amount of fruits and veggies has doubled in school lunches.
The Healthy US School program has been rolled into “Let’s Move” challenges schools to meet the highest national standards for nutrition and physical activity. Several large chain grocers have committed to reduce prices of fresh produce and to reformulate many of their private-label processed foods by 2015 to reduce sodium, sugar and trans fats.
G3’s mission is to fight childhood obesity, by helping families: Get Moving, Get Knowledge, Get Healthy and Strong. Local programs like the one G3 held for the Girl Scouts, help families spend quality time together, while learning about good food choices so they can get healthy and strong. Why don’t you join our Movement during Fitness Month? Get the G-facto! We need volunteers to help to change people’s lives.
New Year’s Resolutions
G3 Health and Fitness Can Help
The New Year is a revitalizing time for reflection and goal setting, not only for you but for the whole family. Studies show that the top New Years resolutions are about weight loss, and exercise.
Since one-third of families are fighting the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, why not resolve as a family to take on the G3 challenge, to “Get Moving, Get Knowledge, Get Healthier and Strong.”
Start with simple and fun exercises to Get Moving. Sign up for an up-coming G3 Zumba class or simply start walking. Walking is exercise! Walking prevents type 2 diabetes, strengthens the heart, is good for the brain and bones. Walking is a way for families to spend quality time together and it helps alleviate anxiety. It has also been reported to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.
Resolve to spend quality time with your family in the kitchen too. Here are a few quick, healthy snacks you can try together.
- Rocky Road: Break a graham cracker into bite-size pieces. Add to low-fat chocolate pudding along with a few miniature marshmallows.
- Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
G3 Health and Fitness understands that to win the fight against Childhood Obesity the whole family must be involved. Our mission is to offer fun exercise classes, and provide Health and Nutrition education in the community. We will expand our program to include Parent/child classes. Exercise classes is good way for the family to spend quality time together and Get Healthy and Strong.
“Like us” on Facebook to keep up with our upcoming programs!
Have a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year!