Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

YMCA's Healthy Kids Day a Hit with Parents and Kids; Also, Mandarin Garden Club Holding Plant Sale Today

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

YMCA's Healthy Kids Day a Hit with Parents and Kids; Also, Mandarin Garden Club Holding Plant Sale Today

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhonda Reese

The Mandarin YMCA was an extra-noisy place to visit April 17. That's because families were busy putting some play in their day.

Children of all ages took part in the Y's Healthy Kids Day, learning lots of ways to live healthier and enjoy staying well and fit together.

The day started with bounce houses, face-painting and swim-testing in the pool. It wound down with a watermelon eating contest and "Zumbatomic" dancing. In between, kids and their parents enjoyed golf putting games in the pool, testing foods in the veggie fear factor challenge, making crafts, playing tennis, completing an obstacle course and watching a Wee Chefs demo.

"It's great," Amanda Boyd said of the day as her 6-year-old daughter, Sally, finished having her face painted. "There's something for everybody."

Boyd and Rita Mankin, parents who are regulars at the Y, said they believe children should learn the importance of staying healthy at an early age.

Elise Fenstermaker, a registered dietician who works with the Y, said it's also important for families to learn how to make wise food choices.

"I'm here to promote healthy eating," Fenstermaker said. "Little things can make such a big difference."

Little things such as eating a healthy breakfast, packing a healthy lunch, exploring kid-friendly healthy recipes and learning about the food pyramid. Fenstermaker handed out colorful worksheets showing parents how many servings of milk, fruits, vegetable, grains and meats children of different ages need per day.

She also set up a table where children and parents could make their own trail mix from healthy ingredients such as high fiber cereal, fruit and nuts.

"Picking up good habits when you are young can last a lifetime," Fenstermaker said.

Those good habits, she said, include eating healthy, making physical activity a part of playtime, allowing children to have some unstructured playtime and limiting use of electronic media. …

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