New Year, New Nutrition
The start of a new year is a great time to talk about nutrition with your kids. Here’s a whole bunch of great ideas, games, activities and books for you to use to get you and your family on your way to healthier habits.
What you’ll need:
*Large roll of craft paper or white paper
*Red, green, yellow paper
*Orange, sugar, juice, slice of cheese, etc. (for Activity #4)
*Fabric to use as blindfold
*Notebook (we used an old notebook that still had some blank pages in it)
*Talk about why good nutrition is so important. Why is it important to keep our bodies healthy? What are some of the amazing things our bodies do? As you do the activities below, you’ll be finding out ways that we can help our body work at its best.
Activity #1: Our Body
*The following things are necessary for our bodies to stay healthy. Talk about how much of each of these things you do and how you can do more. Give at least one example of how you can do each of these things every day.
--Cleanliness (teeth, hands, bodies)
--Eating healthy foods
--Expressing feelings properly
*For younger kids, take this opportunity to practice naming body parts. Talk about the function of each of these parts and how important it is to keep them all healthy.
*Check out our body tracing activity .
Activity #2: Food Groups/Pyrmaid
*If you’re not familiar with the new food pyramid, check out www.mypyramid.gov/Kids/ to download a copy.
*Cut a large triangle out of the roll of white or craft paper (we’d suggest about 2ft tall and 2 ft wide) and divide it into the food groups. You can also color each section the appropriate color.
*Go through magazines and cut out various pictures of food. Talk about what food group they would each be in and glue in the appropriate spot on your pyramid. Draw in any foods you eat often at home.
*For younger kids: open your fridge and kitchen cabinets and talk about which foods belong to which group. For older children: have them find at least 1 or 2 examples of each food group in your home.
Activity #3: Food Stoplight
*Talk about what kind of snacks are healthy and what’s not. (We’d suggest reading The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food – see the link below to order it online.)
*Cut out red, green, and yellow circles – about two inches in diameter – like a stoplight. Now go on a “snack hunt” in your house. Find snacks that are healthy and tape a green circle to it. These snacks are good to eat anytime. Find snacks that are not very healthy and tape a red circle to it. These snacks are good to eat only occasionally. And snacks that fall in between get a yellow circle. They are OK to eat, but not in large quantities.
Activity #4: Five Senses and Food
*Don’t let your kids see the food you are using for this activity. We suggest using orange slices, some sugar, juice, and a piece of cheese, but you can substitute any food you think will work.
*Blindfold your children and the first food item in front of them.
*First, have them only SMELL it.
*Next, have them TOUCH it – discuss the texture. Is it smooth, liquid, solid, rough, etc.?
*Now have them TASTE the food. What does it taste like? Is it sweet, salty, bitter, etc.? What does it feel like in your mouth – chewy, soft, wet? What does it SOUND like when you bite down?
*Finally, they can take off the blindfold and SEE the food. Did they guess what it was?
*Repeat with all your food items.
Activity #5: Tasting Book
*Use an old notebook that still has blank pages in it and glue a sheet of colored paper to the front. (Or you can make your own notebook with white paper and a construction paper cover.) Decorate the cover with your favorite foods.
*Have your child try a new food from each of the food groups. Draw or list the food in the notebook. Younger kids can make a smiley face or frown by the food to show if they liked it or not. Older kids can make a little note about why they did or didn’t like that particular item.
*Keep these books near your kitchen table. Each night at dinner, when the kids try a new food, have them add it to their tasting book.
*Don’t forget to talk about what food group each new food belongs in!
Activity #6: Books & Activities
*You can do these activities with our without reading the books. See the links below to buy these books online. Most are available for just one cent!
*Read Stone Soup and make your own soup.
*Read Lunch by Denise Fleming and sort your foods by color.
*Read The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philemon Sturgis and make your own pizza. You can also use paper to make a collage pizza. Cut a circle (about 6 inches diameter) out of the roll of white paper or craft paper. Have your child tear up red paper for sauce and glue it on. Tear up white or yellow paper for cheese and glue it on. Add any toppings you usually like on your pizza!
*Send us a picture of your kids doing any of our nutritious activities and we may post it to our site! firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Food Pyramid for Kids
*The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food (First Time Books(R)) for 1 cent at amazon.com!
*Stone Soup for 1 cent at amazon.com
*Lunch for 1 cent at amazon.com!
*The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) at amazon.com for less than $3.
*Gregory, the Terrible Eater -- about a goat that must try to eat “goat” foods even though he doesn’t want to. Get it for 1 cent at amazon.com
*Bread and Jam for Frances (I Can Read Book 2)
-- What happens when you only eat one kind of food? Get it for 9 cents at amazon.com
This activity can be found in the Games & Activities section of our site.