“Mom, I’m SO hungry. What can I have for a snack?”
This is something I hear daily after my two older boys get home from school. They.are.ravenous. I mean seriously, growing boys are insatiable. It became a daily back and forth (m = mom and b =boys 🙂 ):
b: What can we have for a snack? we are SO hungry.
m: Let’s go over what you had today and see what you should have. How many fruits have you eaten? veggies? proteins?
And so the conversation goes on and on, day after day. Bleh.
I needed them to be able to make more independent decisions so that they could pick the right kinds of foods for themselves as well as understand what a balanced day really looks like. They are super into what we call “crunchy” snacks-empty calorie, unfulfilling things like goldfish, cheez its, and pirate’s booty. While I don’t mind them occasionally munching on these yummies, the fact of the matter is they won’t stop being hungry if they eat only these things. They need protein (cheese sticks, yogurts), fruits and veggies first. We at least try to have one and then the other (a protein, crunchy, fruit, crunchy). You get the gist!
I decided they needed to learn about the current USDA food plate and learn what is considered a balanced meal. We decided to print out the filled in plate and color it while reading up on some materials (we subscribe to enchanted learning, which I LOVE-well worth the $20 a year; I printed out paper materials from there to go over with them while we worked on our plates). We then printed out the blank plate. I had the boys draw healthy choices and color those in. I then laminated them and now they use the pieces of art as placemats at dinner. So fun!
Now came the part of creating a workable sheet for them to play with and figure out what parts of their diet they needed to complete their day. For this project, I used laminated card stock, velcro dots, and a sharpie for drawing the lines on the paper (before you laminate). Below are the links for you to download of all the images and labels. I have to say that when we do use it, it definitely helps them to pick and serve themselves the right snacks!
Place the current day in the upper most corner on the left side. Then have the kiddos fill in which items they’ve had and see where there are voids. Usually fruits and breads are filled in first-no brainer. We then grab a cheese stick and some raw veggies and move on!
Simple but visually impactful!
Click here for the food images and labels
I linked this up to