Healthy Summer Challenge Spotlight: Forteza Family

Published: July 11, 2018

Summer break is a time to relax and enjoy downtime, but you can’t forget that staying active and eating healthy is still important. Take advantage of the summer season and get moving! The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living has partnered with the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (TAHPERD) to create an easy way for you to keep your kids healthy during these hot summer months with our Healthy Summer Challenge Calendar.

The calendar has daily challenges that the whole family can do together. Challenges range anywhere from doing push-ups when commercials are on tv to eating a vegetable you’ve never tried before. Using this calendar is a great way to get your kids excited to complete healthy eating and active living goals! See how many challenges your family can achieve.

The Forteza family from Austin, Texas has been doing the healthy summer challenge since May and have already seen some changes in behavior when it comes to getting the kiddos to eat their veggies. See their experience with this challenge below!

two young girls with yogurt and strawberries smiling young boy eating girl in pink skirt eating vegetable

Name: Janelle Forteza

Kid’s Names & Ages: Taylor (7), Ben (5) and Anna Claire (3)


What did you think of the challenge going into it?

I was hoping it would help us incorporate better eating habits. Anna Claire doesn’t like vegetables and Ben won’t eat fruit.


How long have you participated in the challenge? I.e., did you start when we launched it on May 18 or start in the middle, etc.?

We started soon after it was launched.


Are all of your children participating? Are they participating equally or is one child more engaged than the other?

My seven-year-old is the most engaged (she also already has the healthiest habits). The three-year-old doesn’t really understand.


Are you offering rewards? If so, what kind?

Yes, we are treating it like Bingo. The first person to get bingo will get a small toy!


Is the challenge calendar posted in your kitchen? Is that effective?

Yes, they are hanging on our pantry door.


Which challenges did you/your kids find the easiest?

Being active! We are always playing outside and going to the pool.


Which challenges did you/your kids find the hardest?

Eating healthy and drinking 8 oz of water.


What challenges did you/your kids enjoy the most?

Throwing the ball around and making a list of favorite foods.


As a parent, do you see this calendar as a good tool to motivate kids to stay healthy and active during the summer? If so, why?

Yes, my kids would live on goldfish and candy. This helped me to get them thinking of healthy foods to eat. And having a list of vegetables they liked was helpful to me. I can look at the list and try to make those more often. It seems so “common-sense” to do that, but I had never thought of it.


Have you seen any change in behavior when it comes to healthy eating and exercise?

My son has tried several new foods that I never thought he would. He tried roasted peppers and said it is his new favorite food. He also tried grilled zucchini and has asked for it several times since.


What advice do you have for fellow parents and challenge takers?

Just go with the flow. I knew I would never be able to do a daily challenge, so we did what we could. Just the small amount we have done has had some pretty big takeaways. I never would have guessed my son would be asking for grilled zucchini!!


What kinds of challenges would you like to see in next summer’s calendar?

Bike riding, sleep challenges, hygiene.


Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?

I really enjoyed it!



Download and print your calendar today and get those healthy challenges going! This calendar is also available in Spanish.