It can be difficult to get young kids to understand the importance of nutrition or even what good nutrition really means. If you talk to them about why certain foods are better for them than others, that will help, but giving them a hands on activity will leave a lasting impression. Here are some teacher-inspired ways to involve kids in understanding the difference between food that is good for them and treats or junk.
- Make a food collage of "Good Foods" and one of "Junk Foods." The good foods collage could include photos from magazines or box covers of things like oatmeal and other whole grains, fruits, veggies, water, etc. The junk food collage could show candy, chips and soda, or things you want kids to understand they should consume in moderation, if at all.
- Have your kids go through the house or the supermarket with you and pick out the foods that they think are good for them and put them on a table or in the cart. Kids feel proud when they can achieve something, even something as simple as understanding a concept and showing that they understand.
- Plant a garden with your kids – even if it is in an indoor pot – to teach them about natural foods and how they grow. Herbs are easy to grow and even small kids can snip them with scissors.
- By all means cook or bake with them so they can have fun touching, smelling and eating new foods.
- Invite a friend and their child over and do a little" food class." Seeing another child get excited or enjoy a food will sometimes be the push your kid needs to try something new. When we did nutritional lessons at my daughter's school and it came to veggie day, kids who had never tried certain veggies before were giving them a taste, just because all of the other kids were doing it.
Read Mom of Picky Eater's blog about her nutrition lessons at her child's school