One summer, my son participated in Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits with his other 5-year-old buddies at his child care provider. Working for Oasis, I knew the program was beneficial and fun for the kids and Oasis volunteers, but I also had the joy of experiencing the program as parent.
After the first few sessions, my son started talking about GO and WHOA foods. GO foods are those that we can eat all the time and give us energy to “grow strong and play long.” WHOA foods are the treats and convenience foods we should have less often, or as I would say to adults “in moderation.”
I found myself constantly bombarded with questions like “Are oatmeal raisin cookies a GO or WHOA food?” (It’s a cookie, but it does have oatmeal and raisins, right? In case you’re wondering, just about all cookies are WHOA foods).
My son began critiquing our dinner plates, identifying the GO and WHOA foods we had during our nightly dinners around the table. As he gave us a rundown of his day, he would tell us what he did, the games the volunteers played with his class, and what he did and didn’t like about his Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits snack. Fact: it doesn’t matter what you put on celery, my kid still doesn’t like it. Give him veggies and dip or put something on a stick to eat, and he will try it enthusiastically.
My husband and I also got handouts with snack recipes and other tips to incorporate healthy habits in our home. Despite working in public health, I need reminders and new strategies to keep us all on track.
Two years later, our family is still talking about GO and WHOA foods, and it isn’t me initiating it. My son wants to pick a GO snack to take to school so that he can do a better job learning. He knows he needs to get exercise each day to help him get stronger at soccer, baseball, swimming or to just be the fastest one on the playground.
He still critiques our dinners and the occasional soda that mom and dad drink, reminding us that water and milk (low fat, of course) are our best choices.
Families that participate in Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits now have a one-stop resource in our Healthy Living Resource Guide for Families, available for free, thanks to support from WellPoint Foundation. The Guide includes easy, budget-friendly recipes and tips for engaging the whole family in fun games to increase physical activity.
To get involved with Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits in your area or get a free download of the Guide, visit www.catchhealthyhabits.org.