Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Eat Your Rainbow
I spent the entire morning today teaching nutrition lessons at my son's preschool. Which translates to four classes of four-year-olds in two hours.
The focus of my classes? Eating a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies every day.
We talked a bit about why we should eat fresh produce every day - what makes them so healthy for our bodies and how they are nature's perfect foods. We also played a guessing game about the different colors of fruits and veggies - how all the colors are like a rainbow and how each provides a different benefit for our bodies.
But the most fun? Each class taste-tested a sampling of fruits and veggies from every color of the rainbow:
Yellow: yellow bell pepper
Orange: orange tomatoes
Many kids had never tried a kiwi - and they loved it after tasting it. Several had never tried bell peppers or cauliflower, either. I loved watching them try new foods. It was a hoot to see and hear responses. Most of the kids did try everything; and naturally, not all of the choices were a hit. But out of about 40 kids, at least 75% excitedly said they loved one of the foods that was new to them.
And the teachers provided lots of support by enforcing the "one-bite-rule" - try one bite and if you don't like it, politely spit it into your napkin. And no "yucky" faces.
Ahhh, just like at my house. What a great joy to see teachers at my own son's preschool reinforcing my food values.
And even better? Every class had one child who surprised the teacher by eating (and enjoying) every sample. The teacher would whisper to me in awe, "She never brings anything like that for lunch. I can't believe she ate all of those!"
My response? Tell the parents all about it. And hope that the next lunch will include a healthy, fresh fruit or vegetable that the child can really enjoy.
The morales of the day: Keep exposing your kids to fresh fruits and veggies - and mix up the tried-and-true with some of the new every once in awhile. Keep offering, at every meal. You never know when the day might come when they pick it up, try it and actually like it.