Good nutrition is vital for children. Their bodies are still developing and proper nutrients support this growth. A balanced diet is key and should include a variety of food types such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein. Micronutrients are also important and help support functions of the body such as brain development.
How can parents and educators encourage healthy eating for kids? We have compiled five nutritional activities to promote healthier food choices.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides resources to encourage children to get excited about healthy eating. Parents can try this activity with their children when they head to the grocery store. In this activity, children will learn how to create a balanced diet as they look for items within food groups such as grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and meat or beans. This activity also encourages label reading and paying attention to produce color to ensure a balanced selection.
This USDA activity can be used by both teachers and parents at school and at home. This is a great family activity, and teachers can also use it to help children learn about food groups and explore different types of foods. On the first worksheet, students match the food group and food type. In the second activity, students choose new fruits or vegetables to try and rate their tastes.
These USDA coloring sheets expose children to different foods. The link includes 80 coloring sheets that feature different kinds of foods. Some sheets can even be colored online!
In this activity, younger students will sort foods into fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins groups while building their cutting and pasting skills. This activity can be completed at home or in the classroom. The plate used in the activity resembles the MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will help familiarize students with this format of nutritional planning.
Developing an early understanding of micronutrients will encourage children to make healthier choices. This activity can be completed at home or in the classroom and will help children understand the importance of vitamins including their purpose in the body and the type of foods that provide each. To complete the activity, students write a vitamin name on one side of an index card or a sheet of paper. On the other side, they draw the parts of the body the vitamin benefits and a few foods that are the best sources of the vitamin.
Learning about nutritional concepts will help children select healthier options and will likely make an impact on their future eating habits. We hope these activities bring some excitement to the topic of nutrition and empower kids to explore new foods.