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Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


March 2015

STEP 3: Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

Balanced nutrition is just as important as exercise and sleep in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This month, focus on balancing your plate at every meal with vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains and dairy.

Making Healthy Strides

  • Give Back: Drivers are needed to deliver healthy meals to older adults who live in Fairfax County. Visit Older Adult Volunteer Services to sign up.
  • Go Green: Grow your own salad greens, veggies and herbs. A garden can help reduce soil erosion and reduce air pollution.
  • Get Active: Participate in a positive gardening experience through a Community Garden. Fairfax County has more than 650 garden plots in nine County parks.


Healthful Eating on the Run

Smart choices are everywhere, whether it’s carry-out, food court, office cafeteria or sit-down restaurant. People are looking for fast, easy and good-tasting foods to fit a busy lifestyle. Here are 10 tips to help you eat healthy when eating out.

  1. Read restaurant menus carefully for clues to fat and calorie content. Menu terms that can mean less fat and calories: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, steamed.
  2. Think about your food choices for the entire day. If you’re planning a special restaurant meal in the evening, have a light breakfast and lunch.
  3. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink for women and two for men. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without any nutrients.
  4. Tempted by sweet, creamy desserts? Order one dessert with enough forks for everyone at the table to have a bite.
  5. Boost the nutrition in all types of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, peppers or other vegetables.
  6. Load up your pizza with vegetable toppings. If you add meat, make it lean ham, Canadian bacon, chicken or shrimp.
  7. Look for a sandwich wrap in a soft tortilla. Fillings such as rice mixed with seafood, chicken, or grilled vegetables are usually lower in fat and calories.
  8. Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.
  9. Grabbing dinner at the supermarket deli? Select rotisserie chicken, salad-in-a-bag and freshly baked bread. Or, try sliced lean roast beef, onion rolls, potato salad and fresh fruit.
  10. For desk-top dining, keep single-serve packages of crackers, fruit, peanut butter, soup, or tuna in your desk for a quick lunch.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month

Giving Better Health

If you plan to donate to a local food pantry, please consider donating some of these low-sodium, low-sugar, low-fat and high-fiber foods.

Canned fruits in light syrups or in own juices
No-sugar-added applesauce
Fruit snacks (100% juice)                               
Fruit cups (100% fruit)
Juice – canned and boxed (100% fruit)

Low-sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables
Low-sodium canned tomato products
Reduced sodium spaghetti sauce
Low-sodium V-8 juice
Tomato paste
Reduced sodium vegetable soups

Poultry, fish, beans, nuts:
Canned chicken
Canned salmon or low-sodium tuna in water
Dried beans
Low-sodium canned beans – all varieties
Unsalted nuts
Reduced sodium peanut butter

Bread, cereal, rice, pasta:
Brown rice
Whole wheat/bran cereal (>5 grams of fiber)
Whole grain crackers (>2 grams of fiber)
Plain oatmeal
Granola bars/Shredded wheat (>2 grams of fiber)
Hot cereal mixes – cream of wheat, cream of rice
Whole wheat pasta
Egg noodles
Corn tortillas

Milk, yogurt, cheese:
Powdered milk
Shelf-stable milk, soy or almond milk (in a box)
Cheddar, mozzarella or feta cheese

Fats, oils:
Canola, coconut or olive oil
Low-sodium salad dressing – Italian, vinaigrette
Popcorn – lower sodium, low-fat

Source: CoxHealth

Keeping Half-Time Healthy

Keep young athletes strong and fit with healthy half-time snacks, and pre- and post-game meals and treats that provide the right nutrients at the right time.
*If you're providing a team snack, find out if any children have allergies so you can avoid those dangerous foods.

Before a Game/Practice:

green checkFuel muscles with grains, such as pasta, crackers, or popcorn if kids will be playing for 60 minutes or less. For a longer game or training session, add some fruit or low-fat protein options such as milk, turkey, or yogurt.

no circleAvoid fatty foods (these slow digestion too much) and extra-sweet foods such as soda, candy, and sports drinks. These cause a spike in blood sugar. If sugar levels then drop quickly during a game, your child could become sluggish or even dizzy.

At Half-Time:

green checkStay hydrated with water! If kids need a half-time snack, make it something easy to grab, eat, and digest. The best half-time snack choice is fruit (orange slices, clementines, bananas, grapes, apple wedges), since it contains lots of water and nutrients, and also has kid appeal!

no circleAvoid salty foods, since they dehydrate instead of re-hydrating.

After a Game/Practice:

green checkImmediately following a game or intense practice, kids need lots of fluids to replace what they've lost to perspiration. Milk (including chocolate milk) and water are good choices. If they've really been sweating and/or it is extremely hot outside, athletes also need sodium and potassium, which is why sports drinks contain these electrolytes. Carbohydrates and proteins help kids refuel and re-energize. Fresh fruit, granola bars, dried fruit/leathers, oatmeal cookies, whole-grain crackers or bagels topped with peanut butter, or yogurt are good options.

no circleWhile a little sugar is OK, don't go overboard; it's not wise to reinforce the idea that sweets are a good way to reward yourself for a job well done.

Sources: familyfitness.about.com




Take 12 Steps for Community Health

Download Your

Take 12 Steps for Community Health in 2015 Calendar

Download 2015 Calendar

Download 2014 Calendar

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great community wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!
2015 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Community 5K/10K
Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015, 7:30 a.m.

2015 Healthy Strides Community Expo, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Expo
South Run RECenter, April 24, 2015, 4-7:30 p.m.

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.



Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Take 12 Newsletter
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Email: Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov
Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/take12/ is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

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