5-2-1-0 Program for Youth Fitness and Nutrition

Be a 5-2-1-0 Hero to the Kids in Your Life

The 5-2-1-0 concept was developed by Let’s Go! Maine to help prevent childhood obesity. The program’s concept is contained in the name.

Each day, 5-2-1-0 recommends:

5 or More Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

What is a serving? We’re glad you asked. For kids, a serving is about the size of the palm of their hand. So reaching five might be easier than you’d think.

Here are some quick tips to encourage your kids to get to five:

  • Kids love dipping. Offer salad dressing, yogurt, nut butter, or hummus to get them going.
  • Add veggies and fruits to foods they already like.
  • Keep prewashed and pre-sliced fruits and veggies at the ready in the fridge, so they’re easy to grab when the urge strikes.
  • Make a fruit smoothie with yogurt. You can even add small amounts of frozen greens or broccoli. Trust us, it’s still delicious.
  • Most people prefer crunchy foods to mushy ones. Serve raw or lightly steamed. (They’re also more nutritious this way.)
  • Try fruits and vegetables lots of different ways to find out what your kids like. It can take as many as seven to 10 tries before kids start to like a new food. So don’t give up!

2 Hours or Less of Recreational Screen Time

Using computers, gaming consoles, tablets, and smartphones (and watching TV) all count as screen time. Screen time is associated with more snacking, lower reading scores, and attention problems.

A healthy “screen diet” for childhood development means:

  • No screen time or TV for children under the age of two
  • No computer or TV in the room where the child sleeps
  • One hour per day of educational TV or online activity for children between the ages of two and five.
  • After age five, no more than two hours per day.

What if they’re bored? (They will tell you they’re bored.)

  • Do a puzzle
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Spend time catching up with your family
  • Play board games
  • Start a journal
  • Go to the library
  • Explore free activities in your community
  • Or try any of the ideas listed for 1 Hour or More of Physical Activity

1 Hour or More of Physical Activity

Physical activity makes you feel good, keeps your heart healthy, makes you stronger and more flexible, and helps attention and mood. One hour of physical activity can dramatically improve a child’s attitude and behavior.

Here are just a few suggestions to start with:

  • Play ball (basketball, catch, soccer, etc.)
  • Walk, run, or jog
  • Rollerblade
  • Go to the park
  • Go on a nature hike
  • Put on music and dance
  • Play charades
  • Ride a bike
  • Go play in the snow

0 Sugary Drinks

Limit—or better yet, eliminate—sugary beverages, especially soda, energy drinks, and fruit drinks. Offer whole fruits over juices. Instead, suggest low-fat milk or water.

But make the transition gradually for the best results—sugar is addictive. And here are a few other ways to make healthy beverages more appealing:

  • Keep iced or cold water handy in a bottle or pitcher
  • Add a few fresh lemon, lime, or orange wedges to water for a little natural flavor
  • Offer straws with fun shapes or patterns