Eating healthy is good for everyone. However, you're bombarded with commercials for fast food, candy and soda everywhere you go. Focusing on children and letting them know what it means to eat healthy and how to do it is important for their continued health going forward. Activities that focus on eating healthy can be fun and informative for children.
Provide children with the food pyramid. Discuss what the five food groups are and what kind of foods fit into each food group. Websites such as Nourish Interactive provides printable food pyramids and colouring pages for each food group. The colouring pages contain examples and helpful facts and tips when selecting food. Have the students complete a healthy eating book with all the pages bound together.
For kindergarten through second grade, use a book such as "Gregory the Terrible Eater" by Mitchell Sharmat to teach children how to eat better. Read the story to the children, then break the kids into five separate groups and assign them a food group. Have each group find pictures for foods that fit in their group, and then have them fed to Gregory. Create a Gregory head with an open mouth. Attach a bag to the back of the head to catch what the children feed to Gregory. Go over the items, and discuss whether these are healthy selections.
Puzzles and Games
Print off worksheets from sites like Nutrition Exploration to provide to students. Worksheets on the site include word scrambles, word searches, crossword puzzles and true or false quiz sheets. Each worksheet contains healthy eating tips and facts. These worksheets are great to use for morning worksheets or when kids have down time between lessons. Keep them on hand for when kids have free time.
Reading Food Labels
For older grades, go beyond the food pyramid and work on reading labels. Cut out food labels from various products. Have the students read the label. Ask questions about the label, such as "Which label has the lowest saturated fat?" then discuss why having low saturated fat is good for your diet. The National Heart and Blood Institute offers a quiz game online for reading labels that kids can access that provides sample food labels to compare.