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Grantee Blog 2020

Zooming In On Healthy Drinking and Snacking

In keeping with our goal of healthy eating, the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton after school members enjoyed two special Zoom presentations on making healthier drink and snack choices when facing a vending machine.  In the first presentation, MaryAnne Kokidis, health educator with Amerigroup, demonstrated the amount of sugar, (by the teaspoonful), salt, and food coloring in typical drinks found in vending machines. Members learned that a 12 oz. bottle of Coke contains 10 teaspoons full of sugar, or about 39 grams of sugar. Quite an alarming statistic when the American Heart Association’s recommendation for children 6 to 18 years is less than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons full of added sugar daily for a healthy heart. Members learned that the main ingredients in Gatorades are water, sugar, salt and food coloring. Regarding juice drinks, Ms. Kokidis recommends reading the nutritional label, where one can find “juice” drinks with less than 1 % juice versus 100% juice drinks. She said that a fresh orange is better for the digestive system because the body is slower to digest natural sugars contained in the fruit itself, versus a glass of OJ, which may make a body tired after several minutes. The best-choice beverages are drinks that have little or no sugar added such as sparkling water and tea. Water is always the best choice for healthy growing bodies.

For Ms. Kokidis’ second presentation on healthy snacking, attention was on dyes found in snacks such as Pop Tarts, Fruit Snacks and Cheese Puffs. “Strawberry” Pop Tarts and “Cherry” Fruit Snacks turned water red, while Cheese Puffs turned water orange. Better snack choices were baked potato chips (potatoes, salt, oil), and pretzels. Better yet, pack fresh fruit, healthy grain bars, yogurt, nuts, and fresh veggies. Again, Ms. Kokidis strongly recommends reading labels on products where one can find the serving amount, calories and grams of sugar, sodium and carbohydrates, in addition to other ingredients that may lead one to reconsider what they put into their body.

The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton is grateful for the education presentations provided by Amerigroup and Ms. Kokidis. Thank you.

About the Grantee

Boys & Girls Club of Clifton (BGCClifton)

The Mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. For over 70 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton has provided targeted programs that help youth achieve academic success, good character and citizenship, and a healthy lifestyle.