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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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Around the Block: Fun On The Block

 
Around the Block Parent Sitelet
 

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Fun on the Block

Boy and Girl Running

Take your child Around the Block with fun facts and information about nutrition. The interesting tidbits and activities found on these pages help you make nutrition and healthful eating enjoyable for your child. Spot The Block helps kids take charge of their own dietary decisions and habits. Make nutrition a fun part of everyday life by incorporating these fun facts and tips about nutrition into conversations with your kids. Help them get their food facts first!

 

Fun Ways to Learn About Healthful Eating

Spot the Fact

Did you know Vitamin A helps protect against infections? Watch this space for more upcoming facts about nutrition that you can investigate throughout this Web site.

 

Key Messages

These fun facts also relate to Spot The Block's three key messages:

  1. Check Out the Serving Size
  2. Consider the Calories
  3. Choose Nutrients Wisely

 

Did You Know?

Did you know that July is National Baked Bean Month? Or that the third Sunday in July is Sundae Sunday? Did something exciting happen on your child's birthday. . . or could you plan a fun family event around one of these days? Check out these calendar-based facts to find out!

January  
New Year's DayBe a calorie king or queen and SPOT THE BLOCK for calories and fat. Remember that even some "fat-free" and "low-fat" items can contain just as many calories as full-fat items.
February  

February 14

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! Richard Cadbury invented the first Valentine's Day candy box in the late 1800s. SPOT THE BLOCK on a box of Valentine candies this month — check out the difference in calories for different flavors! Consider the calories, and remember: 40 is low, 100 is moderate and 400 is high.
President's DayDid you know ... George Washington's favorite food was ice cream? SPOT THE BLOCK on this dairy food and compare the fat content on 2 or 3 brands and flavors. Fat is a nutrient that you want to get less of! See how much calcium you're getting.
International Friendship MonthCelebrate International Friendship Month. Spread the word about SPOT THE BLOCK!
March 
National Frozen Foods MonthChill out during National Frozen Foods Month! SPOT THE BLOCK on favorite after-school snacks like mini pizza bagels, chicken tenders and cheese sticks. Check out the serving size — and then tally up how much you're really eating! Remember that one package may contain more than one serving!
National Peanut MonthDid you know . . . almost half of the U.S. peanut crop each year is made into peanut butter? March is NATIONAL PEANUT MONTH — so SPOT THE BLOCK to check the serving size as you enjoy your favorite nuts and peanut butter.

March 8-12

National School Breakfast Week

Remind your friends: It's National Breakfast Week! When shopping for cereal, SPOT THE BLOCK and choose the one that's lowest in sugar!

March 17

St. Patrick's Day

Did you know ...that the very first St. Patrick's Day parade was not in Ireland? It was in Boston in 1737. So wear your green today and remember to eat your greens. Look at packages of green vegetables and remember to SPOT THE BLOCK to see why they're such a good choice!
3-A-Day WeekKick off National 3-A-Day Week as you SPOT THE BLOCK on dairy products! Choose your three favorite dairy foods (like milk, cheese and yogurt) and SPOT THE BLOCK to see which is the lowest in fat. See how much calcium you're getting.
April
 National Humor Month 

April 4

Anniversary of Vitamin C being Isolated

Vitamin C was first isolated by C.C. King at the University of Pittsburgh over 75 years ago today on April 4, 1932! SO celebrate C.C.'s C-spotting as you SPOT THE BLOCK of vitamin C on your juice — and look for 20% DV or higher!

April 15

National Take a Wild Guess Day

It's National Take A Wild Guess Day — the day that honors guesses and speculations! Next time you visit your favorite fast food restaurant, take a wild guess at which item has the most calories. Then get your food facts by asking for the nutrition facts information SPOT THE BLOCK to see if you're right!
May 
National Hamburger MonthMay is National Hamburger Month. Next time you visit your favorite fast food place and order a hamburger — remember to SPOT THE BLOCK! If the BLOCK isn't on the package, ask to see it!
National Salsa MonthOlé. May is National Salsa Month, celebrating salsa as one of America's favorite ways to add flavor to all kinds of foods without a lot of calories.

May 5

Cinco De Mayo

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo — the Mexican national holiday recognizing the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862. If you choose tortilla chips today, SPOT THE BLOCK to check the serving size and figure out the total number of calories in what you're eating.
Memorial DayHappy Memorial Day! As the sun heats up and you grab for an ice-cold beverage — SPOT THE BLOCK to see how many servings you're drinking, and add up the total calories — remember 40 is low, 100 is moderate and 400 is high.
June 
National Dairy MonthIt's National Dairy Month! SPOT THE BLOCK on your favorite dairy foods. Choose fat-free and low fat milk and milk products (like cheese and yogurt). Calcium helps build strong bones — just what you need for all the fun things you'll do this summer!
National Iced Tea MonthIt's National Iced Tea Month! When you're choosing your bottled iced tea and other beverages, be sure to SPOT THE BLOCK to see which has the lowest sugar and sodium.

June 4

Supermarket Cart

The first supermarket cart was introduced on this day in 1937. When you head to the grocery store — be sure to SPOT THE BLOCK on the foods you're choosing.
First Day of SummerHooray—summer is here! You'll probably be doing fun things and choosing your own summertime snacks! So after you run around the block . . . be sure to SPOT THE BLOCKon your favorite fruits, raw vegetables, and nuts. You'll get plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
July 
National Baked Bean MonthIt's National Baked Bean Month! Before your next barbecue, SPOT THE BLOCK on 2 varieties of baked beans. Look for nutrients you want to get more of (like fiber and iron) and try to avoid those you want to get less of (like sugar and sodium).
Cell Phone Courtesy MonthIt's Cell Phone Courtesy Month! Celebrate by politely texting a message to 5 friends — reminding them to SPOT THE BLOCK!
National Ice Cream DayThe third Sunday in July is Sundae Sunday. SPOT THE BLOCK on 2 or 3 different cartons of ice cream or frozen yogurts — see how much fat and calcium is in each one. Choose the one with lower fat per serving . . . and also check how much calcium and how many calories you're getting.
National Hot Dog DayDid you know . . . it's National Hot Dog Day, and there's a 1-in-4 chance your hot dogs originated in Iowa! Before you buy, SPOT THE BLOCK on hot dog packages to check out the calories and sodium per serving. Try comparing hot dogs made from beef, pork and turkey
National Salad WeekIt's National Salad Week! Before your salad "gets dressed"—SPOT THE BLOCK on the salad dressing bottle for total fat, saturated fat, and sugars. Compare varieties— regular, light, and fat-free. Be sure to check out the serving size. Measure it out—the serving size may surprise you!
August 
National Mustard DayHappy National Mustard Day! The Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Wisconsin holds the world's largest collection of prepared mustards and mustard memorabilia. SPOT THE BLOCK on mustard labels and compare mustard to other toppings, like mayonnaise and ketchup.

August 14

International Nagging Day

Did you know? Did you know? Today is International Nagging Day. To celebrate, remember the gift of positive nagging—so be a "nag" and encourage a friend to ask to SPOT THE BLOCK before ordering at your favorite fast food place! Get your food facts first!
Be an Angel DayToday is Be An Angel Day—a day to do "one small act of service for someone." Give the gift of healthy eating by showing someone special how to SPOT THE BLOCK to check serving size, calories, and nutrients!
National Waffle DayIt's National Waffle Day. SPOT THE BLOCK on your favorite frozen waffle or other toaster treat to check the total number of calories per serving—and be sure to add in the calories in your syrup and butter!
September 
National Potato MonthDid you know . . . President Thomas Jefferson is credited with first introducing French fries to the White House in 1851? Celebrate National Potato Month and SPOT THE BLOCK by comparing calories in frozen French fries, containers of mashed potatoes, and canned potatoes.
National Rice MonthSeptember is National Rice Month! SPOT THE BLOCK on brown or white rice . . . then compare it to a package of flavored rice. Choose the one with the lowest fat, sodium, and calories per serving for tonight's family dinner!
International Enthusiasm WeekWow! Check it out!! It's International Enthusiasm Week!!! Get your friends excited to SPOT THE BLOCK by forwarding a link for www.spottheblock.com. Be enthusiastic about playing the Label Game — the "buzz" will catch on!
Labor DayIt's Labor Day weekend, which often means the last BBQ of the summer. The first outdoor barbecue took place in 1769 in Alexandria, Virginia, where George Washington spent three entire days feasting on pork. Remember to SPOT THE BLOCK at your own BBQ — take a close look at chips and other snacks to compare serving size and calories. Choose the ones with the fewest calories per serving!
October 
Eat Better, Eat Together MonthIt's Eat Better, Eat Together Month. Create a schedule to help your family eat together this month . . . and show the rest of the family how to SPOT THE BLOCK while fixing the family meal!
Spinach Lovers MonthCelebrate Spinach Lovers Month! This dark green veggie is loaded with iron, a nutrient to get more of. SPOT THE BLOCK on frozen spinach and compare creamed, butter-sauced and plain. Compare the calories and choose the one with lowest fat per serving!

October 11-15

National School Lunch Week

It's National School Lunch Week. SPOT THE BLOCK on "extras" in the lunch line— like bags of chips, yogurt, juices, and sodas. Be aware of the calories per serving. Remember: 40 Is low, 100 is moderate and 400 is high.

October 30

Haunted Refrigerator Night

The night before Halloween is Haunted Refrigerator Night . . . and who know what lurks in the refrigerators of homes everywhere? It's time to be afraid—very afraid. So gather your friends, open the refrigerator door and . . . SPOT THE BLOCK! Find three foods that are higher in calories and three foods that are lower in calories. Remember: 40 Is low, 100 is moderate and 400 is high.

October 31

Halloween

Trick or Treat? When you bring home your sweets on Halloween, remember to SPOT THE BLOCK for calories! Mini-sized candy bars can add up before you know it. In fact, eating several miniature candies can add up to more calories than if you'd eaten a full-sized bar—so read the label and do the math to be sure!
November 
Peanut Butter Lovers' MonthIt's Peanut Butter Lovers' Month! The world's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich was created in Peanut, PA on November 6, 1993. It measured 40 feet long . . . and contained 150 pounds of peanut butter and 50 pounds of jelly! Before you make this classic favorite, SPOT THE BLOCK and check out the serving size, tally up how much you are using—and then spread away!
National Sandwich DayIt's National Sandwich Day: time to celebrate sandwiches from all kinds of cultures! Think of all of the types of "sandwiches" you eat — anything with bread and filling (enchiladas, pita pockets, gyros, and more). When choosing these ready-made foods, be sure to SPOT THE BLOCK for fiber. Choose whole grain bread to increase your fiber intake.
National Family Week

It's National Family Week. SPOT THE BLOCK with your family and share these messages:

  1. Check out serving size. Remember that one package may contain more than one serving!
  2. Consider the calories. When looking at a food's calories per serving, remember: 40 is low, 100 is moderate, 400 is high.
  3. Choose nutrients wisely. Pick foods that are lower in certain fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugars, and higher in calcium, iron and fiber when making daily food choices!
ThanksgivingThanksgiving season is here! Did you know that the pilgrims ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving dinner? SPOT THE BLOCK on microwave and bagged popcorn: check out the fat on different varieties, and watch serving size to keep track of the calories you're really eating.
December 
Snow SportsThink snow! It's time to get ready to hit the slopes and trails. SPOT THE BLOCK on trail mixes, dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Race your friends to the finish line!

December 9

Computer Mouse Invented

Did you know . . . the computer mouse was introduced on December 9, 1968. Celebrate by emailing your friends and reminding them to SPOT THE BLOCK! Send them this link — www.spottheblock.com — so they can share the buzz from Cartoon Network!
HolidaysIt's holiday time — the season of good cheer and sweet traditions! Did you know chocolate was first brought to the U.S. in 1765 from the West Indies? The holiday season is filled with such tempting treats, so SPOT THE BLOCK and keep track of your total calories each day.
First Day of WinterIt's the first day of winter— time for piping hot drinks like hot chocolate to keep you warm. Did you know . . . Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 golden goblets of hot chocolate every day? It was thick, dyed red and flavored with chili peppers. What if each goblet was 100 calories? SPOT THE BLOCK on your hot chocolate and see how many calories you're drinking.