Hi Friends! Well, last week I was lucky enough to go into my daughter’s kindergarten class and talk a little bit about nutrition. Man oh, man let the fun begin! This was actually my third time going into my kids’ classrooms and promoting healthy eating to the students. In February, I talked to two preschool classes at my son’s school and had a blast! I did have to step out of my comfort zone just a bit, ahh, it was tad stressful but worth it.
Let me tell you why I was a little nervous . . . my goal was to provide a fun and memorable event for the kids while instilling some great nutrition concepts for the little ones. I wanted every child to go home and actually remember something about what they did in school that day. How many times do we as parents here the answer to our question, “So what did you do at school today?” Child’s response: “Oh, nothing . . .” Parent’s reply, “Whaatt?”
I wanted to get the children excited about my message to eat more fruits and vegetables and always try new foods! I wanted them to go home with pure excitement and say, “Mom, I need to eat lots of colorful foods! Can we go to the grocery store and buy some new fruits and vegetables? I really liked the jicama Mrs. Mitchell brought can we buy some?” Okay, I may be pushing it a bit but this might happen. And if it was at my house, my kids would be more than willing to try new fruits and vegetables they picked in the produce aisle but then ask to go buy some candy, haha, right?
So, anyway, I decided that in order to get the attention of children ages 3 to 6-years-old, I had to come to their level, meaning I had to be somewhat funny, entertaining and that would be only possible with . . . .a puppet! This was totally out of my comfort zone but hey, I love teaching kids about eating better and if I have to be a little crazy just so a child will be more excited to try a new foods then hey, I am all for it!
Here I am with Pirate Max talking about eating foods that are the colors of the rainbow. Pirate Max thought we were going to eat the rainbow and the little leprechaun guy, too. I kind of look angry but I am desperately trying to do my best pirate voice as you can see my straining vein, hahahaaahaa!
I had some very generous friends let me borrow their awesome Melissa & Doug’s puppets. I think I will have to invest in a puppet for years to come and perfect my skit a bit more for future events. I wrote up a little skit where my puppet was crazy for donuts (just like my kids) and did not want to try any new foods but with the help of my persuasion (and the kids) our new friend tried some new fruits and vegetables (I used play food) and actually liked them (this may only happen in a perfect world but you get the idea). I talked about eating the colors of the rainbow and the different types of foods: everyday foods and sometimes foods. Pirate Max gets the idea that maybe he should only have his favorite donuts on his special Saturday with the family. We talked about how good-for-you-foods help us grow and give us energy.
We also tried some new foods such as jicama, frozen mango, edamame, plus we made our own green smoothies. The children loved seeing all the vegetables and fruits get blended up into liquid. Thanks to my pretty awesome blender I won (My first green smoothie, plus Green Smoothie Girls class). I would say about 85% of the kids were loving the smoothie and eager to try all the new foods. We had a couple kids in each class that were not so thrilled about the foods but that happens, I am just so happy the majority of the kids were excited to try everything!
In my daughter’s kindergarten class, I also read this book, “The Gulps” written by Rosemary Wells (author of Max & Ruby) and illustrated by Marc Brown (author/illustrates Arthur). In a previous post (Kids Summer Snack Swaps) I also mentioned this book. In this book, the Gulps family enjoys convenience food and sitting back and watching TV. As they travel in their Dreamliner (RV filled with TVs and microwaves) they get stranded near the Spratt family farm.
Luckily the Spratt family takes them in and shows them all about the hard work it takes to harvest food on the farm. And they even learn to love green food!
As told in the story, “Bit by bit they got out and got fit.” “Bite by bite they began to eat right.” They eventually slimmed down and learned to eat healthy food and enjoy doing physical labor on the farm.
A very cute story for children.
I also provided fruit and vegetable food trackers to the students, here are some super cute resources I found at Super Kids Nutrition.
In addition to this resource I also included my tips for “Raising Healthy Eaters.”
Feeding your child nutritious food can be one of the most challenging jobs as a parent but also very important to teach your child at a very early age. Here are some tips for any picky eater or great to use when times get a little tough feeding good-for-you-foods!
· Bring your child grocery shopping and have them pick out a fruit or vegetable according to the color of the rainbow. (This is a tough tip as I totally get the stress of bringing kids to the grocery store, trust me! But I try to do this occasionally when I don’t have huge list of groceries. Sometimes we even sit down in the eating area and enjoy some new foods from the salad bar!)
· Rotate foods! Sometimes kids get bored with the same foods so try incorporating a new fruit or vegetable at snack or meal time.
· Get your kids involved in meal time! Maybe have them help you make a smoothie or even help dish out some of the food on each plate.
· Always offer a healthy option! When your kids are asking for junk, it is their way of telling you “I AM HUNGRY!” Make sure to offer some protein and fiber first and then they might forget about the junk. Check out the Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas!
· Have fun! Try making a monster face out of a whole-grain tortilla or even a slice of cheese. This is a wonderful distraction to get any kid to eat better!
I also included these recipes that have been hits at my home with my kiddos!
As always, enjoy my friends!