March is National Nutrition Month! National Nutrition Month was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to inform and educate about nutrition. From ages two to five, children’s bodies grow and develop in accordance with their diets. Having good health and nutrition will keep your child on the proper growth track. Creating knowledge of a balanced diet at a young age can help guide their food choices in the future. Everyone knows that having good nutrition leads to good health, but did you know that it also links to students’ academic success? Here are some ways that you can introduce topics of nutrition and healthy foods into your early childhood classroom.
Start by introducing the different food groups by creating a food group graph. Label the columns of the food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy, Protein, and Sweets). Explain what each category is and why they are important. Print out and label pictures of different foods – some food they definitely know, and some they may not. Help guide the children to place the foods into the proper category.
Seeing a rainbow is beautiful, but eating a rainbow can fill children with essential vitamins and minerals. Inspire children to eat a rainbow each day by finding different healthy foods of each color. This project might even inspire them to eat new fruits and vegetables!
Get cooking in the classroom by preparing vegetable soup! Ask parents to donate one item of the vegetable soup recipe. First, start by reading Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. Growing Vegetable Soup is a popular book with great illustrations that will capture the attention of the children but also get them excited to make the soup! After reading the book, get started on the soup! Using plastic knives, invite the children to use their fine motor skills by cutting up some of the vegetables. Put the soup in a slow cooker, and serve to children either that day or the next!
Keep in mind that a good diet paired with exercise leads to a healthy lifestyle. Get your children playing actively several times a day, and reduce daily screen times to avoid inactivity.
For more information about nutrition for children visit here.