Monday, March 23, 2015

Healthy Treat Tricks!

It may be National Nutrition Month, but we know that healthy eating habits need to be emphasized throughout the year.  We find that children are excited about growing tall and becoming strong. When we help them to understand that healthy foods help them grow, they are more interested in good food choices.

Our free activity this week helps children think about the food on a healthy plate. Sign up on the right to receive this, but we even have a few more “tricks” to help you think about healthy treats, so read on!

We love to integrate language arts or math whenever possible and here’s a good way to do just that: Ask children to think about foods that sound soft and loud when chewed. This invites our young learners to try healthy snacks and it increases their vocabulary when you make a list of other words to describe foods such as carrot sticks.  Here’s how it works:

Provide children with a plate of snacks such as grapes, celery sticks, blueberries, carrots, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, cheese cubes, etc. Ask them to predict which foods will be loud when chewed and which foods will sound soft when eaten. They can put the soft foods on one side of the plate and the loud foods on the other side of the plate. You can make a chart to show the predictions. Count the number of children who have ideas about these treats.

Then have children eat the healthy snacks to test their guesses (prediction, hypotheses – use words that seem appropriate for your children).  Some children may disagree. That is great – just encourage them to tell why they might classify cheese as a loud food.

Extend the lesson by asking children to think of other (or better) words to describe loud and soft foods. They may use vocabulary such as noisy, crispy, crunchy, mushy, quiet, gentle, etc. This extends vocabulary in a meaningful way.

The chart is a natural way to integrate math skills. Ask questions such as, “How many children think cheese is a soft food?’ For language arts, you can ask children to find and circle letters like c. Post the chart on the wall and encourage children to “play school” and read the words. This encourages reading for meaning and the development of sight words.

Finally, look for more healthy foods that are loud and soft!

*As we know, it is important to be aware of any food allergies before using food in the classroom.

Standards Alignment:

NAEYC – 2.D.03., 2.D.06., 2.D.07., 2.E.03., 2.F.02., 2.F.03., 2.K.01., 2.K.02.
Head Start – I.B.4 & 5, VII. C & D, VIII. A & B, X. A.

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