Helping Youth Make Healthy Eating and Fitness Decisions

Posted by on November 14, 2003

[posted from Promising Practices in Afterschool Listserv]


“THE POWER OF CHOICE: Helping Youth Make Healthy Eating and Fitness Decisions”

“The Power of Choice” is a Leader’s Guide for after-school activities designed to guide young adolescents toward a healthier lifestyle. “The Power of Choice” helps build decision-making skills that promote healthier eating and activity choices in real-life settings. A key goal is to empower preteens (ages 11-13) to make smarter choices that lead, for example, to improving weight management or being less sedentary. Using an approach that encourages fun, preteens get involved in activities that let them explore the common link among healthy eating, food safety and fitness.

“The Power of Choice” offers kids practice in learning-by-doing, whether by making four different kinds of drinks and analyzing their nutrient profile using Nutrition Facts label skills or by scooping fat (shortening) into a plastic bag and comparing how much of it is in a favorite food. The Leader’s Guide is full of quick, simple things to do, including easy recipes, and dancing to salsa music, most of which requires little or no pre-planning.

In all, the Leader’s Guide has 10 interactive, sequenced sessions and four posters (an educational Nutrition Facts label, a version of the Food Guide Pyramid, Fight Bac, and a Move-It Pyramid). It also contains easy snack recipes, a recipe booklet, a parent letter, and 170 Nutrition Facts cards. In addition, a computer disk accompanies the Leader’s Guide contains all the information in the Guide, and also a self-training video for the adult leader, supplemental hands-on activities, tips for improved communication with adolescents, and support for community involvement.

In sum, “The Power of Choice” seeks to motivate both the preteen and the leader by focusing on positive behavioral changes that promote their personal development and improved lifestyles related to food and activity choices.

All components of “The Power of Choice” are available to download from the web, without charge, at:

While supplies last, single copies are available for free to organizations participating in the USDA’s Child Nutrition programs. Requestors must indicate which of the Child Nutrition programs that they are participating in. The Food and Nutrition Service Team Nutrition order forms are available at:

This new Leader’s Guide was jointly developed by the Food and Drug Administration/DHHS and the Food and Nutrition Service/USDA.

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