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Food and Nutrition

Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit

Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit:

Activity Plan #1 (children and adults): Benefits of Eating Well and Being Physically Active

Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.

 

Supplemental Material

Teacher Supplement for Activity Plan #1

Purpose

This activity plan is part of a series that supports the Eat Well and Be Active Every Day poster. It is designed to help intermediaries educate children and adults about key healthy eating and physical activity messages and encourages individuals to take action to maintain and improve their health.

Educators are encouraged to use the activity plans with a group according to the suggested sequence, as some concepts in the series build on each other. However, educators should adapt suggested activities and sequence to meet the needs of their group.

Topic

This activity plan:

  • Provides a forum to discuss the benefits of eating well and being physically active every day.
  • Introduces Canada's Food Guide and the Physical Activity Guidelines.

Background

Eating well and being physically active every day go hand-in-hand to improve physical and mental health and vitality. Following Canada's Food Guide the Physical Activity Guidelines will help Canadians reduce their risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and depression.

Incorporating healthy eating and physical activity into everyday living helps individuals achieve and maintain a healthy body weight and image, improves energy, promotes growth and development, increases and maintains bone and muscle strength, and prolongs independence during old age.

Canada's Food Guide defines and promotes healthy eating for Canadians. The Food Guide encourages people to choose a variety of foods from each of the four food groups - Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives - and to include a specific amount and type of oils and fats.

Tips to Get Active help Canadians make wise choices about physical activity. The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week (at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily for children and youth), and choose a variety of aerobic and strengthening activities.

For more information on this topic see suggested readings.

Educator Tip: These suggested readings are strongly recommended to help you prepare for this activity plan.

Learning Objectives

After completing the activities below, participants will be able to:

  1. List benefits or reasons for eating well and being physically active.
  2. List the four food groups according to Canada's Food Guide.
  3. List a variety of examples of aerobic and strengthening activities.
  4. List a variety of examples of foods from each of the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide.
  5. Understand the recommended types, amounts, intensity and frequency of physical activity.
  6. Reflect on their own eating and physical activity habits.

You will need

Required

Optional

Activities

Activities for Children

Benefits: Ask the children to look at the images on the Eat Well and Be Active Every Day poster. Brainstorm how they think the people in the images are feeling. For example: happy, healthy, friendly, energized, etc. Discuss what sorts of activities the people are doing in the images that would make them feel this way. From this discussion, build a list of benefits or reasons for eating well and being active.

KEY MESSAGE: There are many benefits of eating well and being physically active - like having fun with your friends and family, and having more energy.

The Four Food Groups and Key Activity Groups: Give a copy of Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active (children or youth) to each participant. Introduce the Guide and Tips by reviewing the names of the food groups and types of physical activities (aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone strengthening.) Brainstorm what types of foods and what types of activities fit into each group.

Using the Eat Well and Be Active Every Day poster, ask the children to identify the four images that represent the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide. Build on this discussion by asking the children to find any three images that illustrate the types of physical activity according to Tips to Get Active.

Select several Eat Well and Be Active images to provide as handouts to each participant. Choose images that you think would build good discussions within your group. Give each participant one image. Ask the children to share what they think their image is meant to portray - what healthy eating and/or physical activity message is being illustrated in the image?

Key Message: Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active can help you make healthy lifestyle choices.

My Foods and Activities: Ask participants to list or draw foods and physical activities that they have tried and enjoyed from the four food groups and the key physical activity groups. You may wish to ask participants to draw one rainbow for sorting foods according to Canada's Food Guide and one rainbow for sorting aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities.

Key Message: There are many healthy and enjoyable foods and physical activities to choose from.

Personal Reflection: Using Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active, have the participants circle the items that they eat or do frequently and ask them if they notice any patterns. For example, does it appear they eat a lot from one food group and not much from another? Does it appear they are not doing many or any aerobic activities frequently? (Overcoming barriers is explored in Activity Plan #3 )

Brainstorm factors that affect food and physical activity choices (example: personal preference, hunger level, time of day, weather, etc.)

To close the session, ask participants to try one of the foods and physical activities that they have not circled or not tried recently - see Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active for ideas. If possible, have participants report back on their experience in a subsequent session. What food and physical activity did they try? Why did they choose those? Ask them to describe their experience.

Key Message: Choose a variety of healthy and enjoyable foods and physical activities from the different groups.

Activities for Adults

Suggested Icebreaker: Ask participants to bring a photo or other memento that symbolizes why eating well and being physically active is important to them. Have participants share with the group. Create a collage or list of reasons and benefits of eating well and being physically active.

Benefits: Ask each participant to interview another participant on a new or interesting healthy eating and physical activity experience (e.g., a new food or interesting physical activity they have recently tried). Share these experiences with the group - why was it a good experience? What elements made it a good experience? List these experiences on a blackboard/flipchart as a list of benefits of eating well and being physically active.

Key Message: There are many benefits of eating well and being physically active - like fighting disease, having more energy, and maintaining independence as we get older.

The Four Food Groups and Key Physical Activity Groups: Give a copy of Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active (adults or older adults) to each participant. Introduce the Guide and Tips by reviewing the names of the food groups and the physical activity groups. Brainstorm what types of foods and what types of activities fit into each group.

Using the Eat Well and Be Active Every Day poster, ask the participants to identify the four images that represent the four food groups in Canada's Food Guide. Build on this discussion by asking the participants to find any three images that illustrate the key activity groups according to Tips to Get Active.

Select several Eat Well and Be Active images to provide as handouts to each participant. Choose images that you think would build good discussions within your group. Give each participant one or more image(s). Ask the participants to share what they think their image(s) is meant to portray - what healthy eating and/or physical activity message is being illustrated in the image? Ask participants to share a healthy eating and/or physical activity story that relates to the image they have been given.

Key Message: Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active can help you to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Personal Reflection: This activity will help participants reflect on their current eating and physical activity habits. Using Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active ask the participants to circle the items that they eat or do frequently and ask them if they notice any emerging patterns. For example, does it appear they eat a lot of one food group and not much from another? Does it appear they are not doing many or any aerobic activities frequently? Are they including aerobic and strengthening activities? Discuss as a group.

Key Message: There are many healthy and enjoyable food and physical activity options to choose from.

Group Reflection: List some barriers that prevent people from eating well and being physically active. As a group, begin to brainstorm some possible solutions to help overcome those barriers. Discuss how the healthier choice can become the easier choice. For example, placing a bowl of apples, pears or other in-season fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table can make it easier to grab fruit for a quick snack, instead of cookies or doughnuts. Or choosing to walk, wheel or cycle for short trips can be faster than taking the car, and easier on gas! This will help participants reflect on how healthy eating and physical activity can fit into their lives and will set the stage for future discussions on goal setting.

Key Message: Start with small steps that help make healthy choices the easier choices.

Supplementary Activities

Adults

Try a new food and physical activity this week; get inspiration from Canada's Food Guide and Tips to Get Active. If possible, have participants report back on their experience. What food and physical activity did they try? Why did they choose those? Ask participants to describe their experience.

Key Message: Choose a variety of healthy and enjoyable foods and physical activities from the different groups.

Related Eat Well and Be Active Images

Woman stretching and individual doing bicep curl Grain Products Two people walking a dog Meat and Alternatives

Suggested Reading

Healthy Eating

Physical Activity

Children and Youth

Adults and Older Adults