My four year old class ate the food pyramid. I had gotten small pictures of foods from each of the food groups from old magazines. The children pasted a picture onto a triangle divided to represent the food pyramid. After the pictures were dry, at snack time we laid our pictures at our places, covered them with plastic wrap and then passed around snack foods from each of the groups. It can also be done on a paper plate but that can get a bit crowded.
Reading Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great way to teach children about eating healthy. After reading about all the food he ate, put the fruit that he ate out for students to try. (Plums, Strawberries, Apples, Pears, Oranges). Discuss with them that when the caterpillar ate junk food he got a stomach ache.
For nutrition week we made fruit kabobs. Using lollipop sticks, the children and I cut up several types of fruit and speared them onto the sticks. This was safe to do with both toddlers and preschoolers since the sticks were not pointy and the fruit was large enough not to be a choking hazard. Obviously, for toddlers I provided the fruit already cut up. This also incorporated food safety, since we had to wash it and our hands too.
For a healthy snack that little ones will find inviting, my son & I made a giant “Mrs. Eggplant Head” with all of its parts made from fruits & vegetables. The kids loved it!! Here’s how I did it… Position an eggplant in the center of a baking sheet. To make it stand up, I first placed an empty cool whip tub on the tray and then covered the tray & tub with foil. The eggplant will stand right up in the tub. We secured all the parts with toothpicks. We used leaf lettuce for the hair. Made a hat out of 1/2 of a grapefruit, decorated with radish roses. We made the eyes with cucumber slices and raisins. We used a slice of red pepper for lips! The ears were made from cucumbers with dangling radish earrings. We made a grape jewel necklace for her. All around “Mrs. Eggplant Head” we had sliced carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, grapes, and other fruits & vegetables for the children to try. The tray was empty at the end of the day. They loved it, and my son & I had a great time coming up with the idea and putting it together.
In talking about fruit and healthy snacks, we bought several apples. Red, green and yellow. We made a chart and had a taste test. All the children tasted the same color and we talked about sweet or sour, crunchy or soft, chewy or soft skin. Then we made a graph of our favorites. It was a tasty, healthy science lesson!