Food & Fitness Club

Stone Soup Makes Food and Fitness Fun for Your Children!

The Food & Fitness Fun Education Program© (FFFEP) is a nutrition and physical activity curriculum developed, implemented, and evaluated by Diane Carson, Ph.D to help your children develop behaviors that **facilitate the importance of healthy eating, choosing nutritious foods, and participating in regular physical activity**.

Stone Soup identified the problem of child obesity in 2000 and sought the professional expertise of Diane Carson, Ph.D to help combat the issue at its root. There are numerous factors that contribute to a child’s likelihood of developing obesity; however, by helping children establish healthy eating habits at a young age, Stone Soup hopes to instill a strong relationship between food and all future Stone Soup adults for life!

Parents report that the kids bring home what they learn. The whole family becomes more aware of the nutritional value of foods – and just how many empty fat and sugar calories there are in those chips, sodas, candy bars, and fast food dinners.

The FFFEP is designed to be fun and interactive, therefore include hands-on activities that stimulate and excite the children.

Lessons are composed of:

  • Fourteen nutrition lessons
    • Food groups and choosing healthy snacks
    • Healthy eating behaviors (proper hand-washing and keeping cold food cold),
    • Fruits & Veggies More Matters program
    • Importance of eating breakfast
  • Five fitness lessons
    • Strength activities (sit-ups, push-ups)
    • Aerobic activities (running, playing tag, etc.)
    • Flexibility (warm-up and cool-down exercises and yoga)
    • New lessons emphasizing sustainability, school gardens, and farm-2 table
  • Introduction of healthy unfamiliar snacks like edamame, dried fruits (mango and cranberry), vegetables, almond butter, hummus and more

College students majoring/minoring in nutrition from California State University, Long Beach and Chapman University trained with Dr. Carson to implement the program as part of an internship program.

Food & Fitness intern, Taylor Stephens, asked her students to write valentines to their hearts on Valentines Day:

Image of a handwritten letter from Yulia - a child
Hand written letter from a child

Stone Soup’s Food and Fitness Fun Club ®
Has Children Reaching for Healthy Snacks In Place of Sugary Ones

Every parent knows what it is like to be at a grocery store and have your child nag them to buy the last snack or treat advertised on TV. Stone Soup wants to turn that into “Can we get some edamame?”

An initial three-year grant from the California Endowment and annual grants from St. Joseph’s Health Support Alliance helped to develop and evaluate the program and St. Joseph’s, Women Helping Youth and other foundation grants continue to sustain it. The evaluation of Stone Soup’s Food and Fitness Fun Club® demonstrates not only are children choosing healthier snacks, water over sodas and being more active, they’re changing what their families eat and do together.

  • 87 percent of the children learned more about healthy eating.
  • Parents reported that about a third of the children drank more water and less soda; 26 percent ate more fruits and 22 percent ate more vegetables. After their children had been in the program, the parents reported their children ate chips 15 percent less often and candy 26 percent less often.
  • 71 percent of parents reported they bought foods such as dried fruit, carrots with hummus, edamame, whole wheat bagels, soy butter, soy chips, soy nuts, pita crisps, red bell peppers, sugar snap peas or radishes for their children’s snacks.
  • 47 percent of the children tested showed greater knowledge of physical activity, including strength, endurance and stretching.
  • 44 percent of the parents reported their children engaged in physical activities such as soccer, bike riding, dog walking, martial arts or dance an average of 31 hours a week – well above the 90-minute goal set when the program started.

In addition, parents noted their own lives had changed as a result of what their children had been learning: 27 percent said they were more active since their children started the program.

I enjoyed the program very much. My children came home excited about the new snacks and the physical activities they participated in. It has opened a new routine in our family to have more physical activities in our home. Thank you!

Children who learn young that eating healthy foods and being active can be fun, are building a foundation for a better and healthier life as adults,


Gustin, M.E., Carson, D.E., & Reiboldt, W. (2012). Teaching Food Safety. Health Education Teaching Techniques Journal, 2, 48-55.

Carson, D.E. & Reiboldt, W. (2011). An After School Program on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Elementary School Children. Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 39(3), 267-278.

Carson, D.E. & Reiboldt, W. (2010). Parents’ Agreement to Purchase Snack Foods Requested by Their Children. Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, 102(1),42-48.

Carson, D.E. & Reiboldt, W. (2005) Food and Fitness in Los Angeles. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 97(4),45-46.

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