With so many food choices available today, it is important for parents to instill good eating habits at a young age. Learning the right foods to eat while younger can promote a lifetime of healthy living choices. The good news is that there are many fun ways to teach your kids about the importance of fruits, vegetables and healthy eating.
Teach Through Games
There are plenty of games you can play to teach your kids all about fruits, veggies and healthy eating. Here are the top examples.
Make flashcards to help your kids learn about the different types of fruit. Use a clip art program to print out various types of fruit and have your kids color the pictures. You can then laminate or glue them to a piece of cardboard and cut them into squares.
2. Sorting Game
Gather as many different types of fruits and vegetables (or pictures of them) as possible. Lay them out on the floor and have your kids sort them by color, fruit/vegetable, texture and shape.
Teach Through Play and Art
Kids learn best through active play, so play some activities to help them learn about healthy eating.
3. Pretend Farmers' Market
Transform your play kitchen into a local farmers' market
. Be sure to remove any foods that are not fruits and vegetables. Talk to your kids about how farmers grow these foods and then sell them at the market. You can also plan a trip to your local farmers' market.
4. Make Healthy Plates
Have your kids cut out pictures of fruits and vegetables from magazines and help them glue these pictures onto paper plates. Discuss with your kids what a healthy plate looks like. Talk about the types of food and serving sizes.
Teach Through Taste
Studies show that people, including kids, use all of their senses when processing information. That's why it's important to include some activities that let your kids actually taste these great foods.
5. Food of the Week
Introduce a new fruit and/or vegetable to your kids every week. Discuss different ways to cook and eat them, and let the kids explore these fruits by touching, smelling and eating.
6. Make Food
Kids love being in the kitchen, and it's the perfect environment for teaching healthy eating habits. Teach your kids how to make healthy meals such as vegetable soup, fruit salad or some healthy snacks
Teach by Growing
There may be no better way to show kids the real value of fruits and vegetables than by showing them how they grow. This close-up view of these amazing foods is sure to pique your kids' curiosity.
7. Visit a Local Orchard
Plan a trip to your local orchard so your kids can see first-hand how these foods grow. If possible, be sure to pick your own fruits, such as apples, blueberries, peaches or strawberries. Call ahead to see what fruits are in season and if they are ready to be picked.
8. Plant a Garden
You can also grow your own vegetables right at home. Plant an indoor or outdoor garden to help you kids learn how to plant, care for and grow different types of vegetables.
9. Grow Sprouts
Sprouts are an easy project with few supplies and fast results. Kids can watch sprouts change every day! Common seeds for sprouting are alfalfa and mung beans, but there many options available.
Be sure to talk to your kids about all the different types of fruits and vegetables while doing any of these games or activities, and ask them what types of fruits and veggies are their favorites. Finally, give your kids plenty of time to ask as many questions as they want. This will keep them interested in these amazing healthy food options for many years to come.