Download the NHCanytime Quick Start Guide for Educators

Since 2014, the Nutrition Habit Challenge (NHC) has been utilized by school districts in Centre County, Pennsylvania as a wellness initiative for students, faculty, staff and their families. In 2016 the NHC was expanded across Pennsylvania through the adoption of the program by The Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Inc. (PSAPHERD). Through the ongoing evolution of this program, the resources established by the original NHC program are being made available anytime for school faculty or administrators all around the country. The Quick Start Guide for Educators provides the guidance and instruction necessary to conduct a Nutrition Habit Challengeanytime in your school today!

As an educator, you have a unique opportunity to be “part of the solution” by inspiring your students to make better decisions regarding their dietary/lifestyle habits. The NHCanytime provides an excellent opportunity to teach personal responsibility, as well as advocacy, decision making, and goal-setting. We encourage you to partner with your school’s Health/PE Department and District Wellness Advocacy Committees. Our hope is that you decide to not only conduct a challenge, but participate and become an advocate for the Challenge by encouraging those within your sphere of influence to join you.

“We created the NHC to educate and inspire members of our community to make better choices not only with their diets, but also their exercise habits and lifestyle choices. We have created a platform to do that, but we need thousands of participants in order to succeed in truly impacting our community’s health. If we have 10,000 participants, and 20% of them have lasting, meaningful change, we have helped 2000 people live healthier lives. That is the end game.”     –Bruce Burke, NHC co-founder

HOW TO RUN A CHALLENGE – A Step by Step guide to build and conduct your Challenge

Committee: Consider forming an NHCanytime committee to build and conduct a successful Challenge.

When: The NHCanytime is a nutrition challenge that can be run over any 28-day period. You choose when to host the Challenge for your classroom, school, or district. Be sure to allow several weeks prior to the start to promote and explain the Challenge. Follow up the Challenge by celebrating success.

Participants: Your NHCanytime can be organized for small groups like a class, or extremely large groups like an entire school district and community. The Challenge should be open to students, faculty, staff, family, and community members.

Motivation: Motivate participants through creative forms of incentive.

Create a prize drawing for those who successfully complete the Challenge 25 out of the 28 days. Let the students think of good prize ideas. The more prizes, the more incentive.

Consider giving students extra credit points for participation and/or double-extra credit points if they get their family to participate.

Support Materials: Utilize the all of the information support available on the resources page.

Communication Plan: Provide communications before, during, and after to ensure the success of the program.

1. Personally meet with or send an initial communication to key stakeholders asking for their buy-in and commitment to the Challenge.

2. Announce the Challenge with a communication that explains:

What the Nutrition Habit Challengeanytime is
How to choose a nutrition commitment
What prizes and other incentives can be earned as part of the Challenge
How to register and participate

Small groups can sign up on paper or via email. For larger groups, consider using an online registration like SignUpGenius.

3. Send a signup reminder 1 week before the Challenge start date.

4. Send a Kick-Off communication on the Start Date.

Encourage participants to practice their nutrition habit.
Send out the Scorecard with instructions on recording successful participation

5. Send nutrition education and encouraging communications throughout the Challenge.

6. Announce the end of the Challenge and explain:

How and when to submit completed Scorecards
When prize drawings will be conducted and winners announced

7. Encourage participants to share their success stories via social media.


Promote the Challenge in the community
As an educator, you can use the NHCanytime as a tool to impact your community’s health. Promote it not only with your students, but everyone within your “sphere of influence,” including your family, friends and colleagues. Inspire your students to get their families and friends to participate.

Utilize the NHC as an educational tool
Integrate the NHCanytime with an existing wellness/nutrition lesson plan.
Consider giving students an opportunity during class time to determine how they can improve their nutritional habits and register for the Challenge.

Utilize the NHC as an advocacy project
For the right students, the NHCanytime provides a tremendous community service project opportunity. High school students could promote the NHCanytime’s message of practicing healthy habits in the community at large, as well as by going to middle and elementary schools and promoting the NHCanytime with younger students.

Ideas for Integrating the Nutrition Habit Challengeanytime into your Curriculum

Use the NHCanytime to teach the following skills:

Advocacy, decision making, goal setting, good nutrition.

Discuss the “Less is More” approach to behavior change and goal setting

Inspire personal character development

“Strategies to Succeed (Part I): Goal Setting”
“Strategies to Succeed (Part II): Connecting the Short-term with the Long-term”
“Strategies to Succeed (Part III): Acceptance”

Provide guidance on an appropriate nutrition modification for their individual needs

“Nutrition Habits for Kids”

Provide nutrition education

“Smart Snacking”
“Limit High Calorie Beverages”
“Eat a Balanced Breakfast”