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Volume 5, Issue 22
December 17, 2007


Use our poem as a fun introduction to the importance of eating a healthful and balanced diet. (Reassure children that their feet will not turn green from eating too many peas!) After discussing the various food groups, help children understand that they should choose foods from each group in order to stay strong and well. Be sure children are aware that foods from the sweets and fats group should be chosen only once in awhile.

More PEAS Please

Thomas only eats peas
Do you wonder why?
He never seems to give
Other foods a try.

"Thomas," says his mother,
"Try some other foods!"
Thomas frowns and then
Gets in a sour mood.

Peas for every meal!
Peas are all he eats.
Until one day he sees…
He's got bright green feet!

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Provide each child with a paper plate and a pre-printed card/label with the words "A Balanced Meal" on it. Children should glue/stick the label in the center of their paper plates. Next, help children cut out from magazines, catalogs, and store ads pictures of foods that represent all food groups. Let children choose a food picture from each group and glue the pictures around the center label. Children can take their plates home to show their families what they learned about a balanced meal.

Read to children Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. After reading, talk about all the foods the caterpillar ate. Then provide samples of the healthful foods (plum, strawberry, apple, pear, and orange) for children to taste. Help children understand that fruits contain vitamins and other healthful nutrients. Ask Why did the caterpillar get a stomach ache? (He ate too much junk food.) Explain that sweet and fatty foods should not be eaten too often.

Use an air popper to make several batches of popcorn. Let each child fill three small zip-lock bags with popcorn. Pour melted heart-healthy spread into each bag. Then sprinkle a different dry ingredient into each of the three bags. (Dry ingredients might include cinnamon, sugar, dry cheese, garlic salt...) Have children shake their bags. Then invite them to sample popcorn from each bag and to choose a favorite. Create a bar or picture graph to show the results. Use the graph to discuss which popcorn was the favorite, least favorite.

Read to children Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Follow up your reading by
--- inviting children to design and draw their own extraordinary eggs. Have them tell why their egg is extraordinary and record their words on their drawings. Let children then read their words back to you.
--- pre-cutting egg shapes. Divide each shape with a jagged cut. On one side write a number; on the other side draw a corresponding number of dots. Mix up the halves and let children match the correct number to the corresponding number of dots.
--- giving each child a pre-cut lower case e shape. Help children understand the sound e makes in the beginning of the word egg. Encourage children to decorate their letter e with crayons, markers, even pieces of egg shells.

Make this simple yet healthful treat for your next class snack.
--- Pour 1 cup of milk into ice cube trays and freeze until solid.
--- Pop milk cubes out and place in a blender.
--- Add 2 cups canned, sliced peaches and 2 teaspoons sugar.
--- Blend together until very smooth.
--- Pour into dishes and serve. Serves 6.

Give pairs of children a very clean plastic tray or mat. Have the children wash their hands well. Next, provide slices of cucumber, carrot, or beet; stalks of celery; whole green beans; or cut strips of green pepper. Also supply stalks of broccoli, bean sprouts, and rinsed kidney beans. Help children use the vegetables to assemble a "garden" on their trays. Flowers can be made by placing slices of cucumber or carrot on top of stems of green beans or slices of pepper. Broccoli stalks can become trees and sprouts can be the grass. Kidney beans can be bugs hidden in the grass. Allow children to come up with more ideas as they create their gardens. After children share their gardens, each pair might eat and enjoy the vegetables they have used.

You might use some of these titles to support your nutrition unit:
--- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
--- Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert
--- Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition by Lizzie Rockwell
--- Oliver's Vegetables by Vivian French



Preschool Food Books
Here is a great selection to choose from. See book covers and synopses.

A Close Look at MyPyramid for Kids
Learn more about the updated food pyramid designed for kids.

Dole Superkids
You'll find simple nutritious recipes for each meal of the day. Try some with your class.

Preschool Nutrition Theme
A great website filled with literature suggestions, songs, and loads of activities.

KidsHealth Recipes
Wow! Tons of healthful recipes to make. Includes recipes for vegetarians and children with diabetes.

One teacher's photos and suggestions for a super nutrition unit.