Nutritional Lessons for kids part three

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I have been going to my 5-year old’s school to teach kindergarteners a thing or two about nutrition.  I am no nutritionist by any means-I am just a mom who wants to see her kid make better food choices.  I also happen to work for Rachael’s non-profit organization, Yum-o!, so I have a keen interest professionally as well as personally to see what one person can do to make a difference.

Here are links to my previous posts:

Day 1-Whole Grains

Day 2-Fruits

Day 3-Veggies.  On Friday I thought I’d tackle a toughie-veggies.  I can think of a hundred ways to cook veggies so they taste good, but since I was bringing food into the classroom, it pretty much had to be fresh and raw.  So I made a crudite platter of cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers of all colors, broccoli and cauliflower.  I brought a dip with it for a little extra flavor and fun.

The kids love the idea of a snack.  Now they are used to me coming and bringing them something to try and they look forward to it.  I was thrilled to see that every one of them munched away at some kind of raw veggie that I brought.

While they were snacking, I pulled out some other veggies for them to touch and smell and pass around.  We started with root vegetables-sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, white potatoes.  Then we did all different kinds of mushrooms, we did green leafy veggies like kale and swiss chard.  We did cabbage heads, all kinds of squash, nightshades like eggplants and all different colored bell peppers.  The kids loved touching all of these veggies and passing them around.  Some kids had definitely never seen a portobello mushroom and when I broke open a red pepper, they oooed and ahhhed and when I ripped off a fresh stalk from my fennel bulb, they loved the anise smell.

I made them promise me they would taste one new veggie before I come back in a week or so.  They are obviously at an impressionable age and eager to try new things-even the picky ones.

I have come to learn that at this age, kids need to touch and feel to learn.  You can tell them things a hundred times but if they are actually performing an act and getting involved, they are thinking about what they are learning.

I was pleased to hear that the kids were going to try to plant carrots in little cups in the classroom.  It reminded me how important it is to plant something in my backyard-anything for that matter.  Last year we did tomatoes and herbs and this year we’ll do much more.  It’s great for the kids and it’s about as local as you can get!

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