We have always been pretty healthier eaters around here but lately seem to have fallen into bad habits. While we have been trying to make changes to get back to a healthier place, I’ve noticed some strong resistance from M. I’ve always thought M was a good eater in the sense that she would eat a wide variety of foods, including almost all fruits and vegetables. However, M is a terrible eater in the sense that she would never sit down to eat if it were up to her.
I chalk it up to the fact that she is a very energetic 3 year old who would much rather play than eat. However, when she does sit down lately it has become difficult getting her to eat much of anything. Rather than force her to sit at the table until she finishes her food, I want to give my kids the knowledge of what constitutes healthy eating and why it is so important. My hope is that if they consider healthy eating the normal, they can avoid a lifetime of struggles over food.
To emphasize the variety of healthy food options, M and I talked about how good food naturally comes in a wide variety of colors. She started listing off all the colors she could think of and asked if food came in each one. To prove this point, I came up with a scavenger hunt to do at our local farmer’s market. She invited one of her friends along so she had a buddy to hunt with. They were each given a checklist and told to find a food that matched each color listed.
Some were easy since there were multiple options to choose from – green and red – but others took some creativity to find. Here’s a recap of what they found…
- Red – Tomatoes
- Orange – Acorn squash
- Yellow – Yellow onions
- Green – Green beans
- Blue – Plums (technically purple but hard to argue when they look dark blue)
- Purple – Eggplant
- Pink – Light red potato
- White – White eggplant
- Brown – Lighter potato
- Black – Darker potato (A stretch but who really wants black veggies anyways?)
If you don’t have a locals farmers market, there are still ways to have a healthy foods scavenger hunt. Download the free printable below and head to your local supermarket. Make sure you limit the exploration to the fresh produce section though. There’s plenty of artificial colors found in these stores but they don’t count!
Since the underlying theme of everything we do is to encourage and promote reading, I found some fun books at the library that illustrate all the healthy food choices we have. My personal favorite was The Edible Alphabet: 26 Reasons to Love the Farm. It is a really cute, lighthearted book that talks about the different things that are on a farm. But instead of being filled with fluff, it was full of actual information about the different aspects of a farm.
So far, my efforts haven’t made much of a different at mealtime but at least the conversation is started. I’d love to hear your ideas for teaching healthy eating!