Celebrating National Nutrition Month
- Grades: PreK–K
March is National Nutrition Month. With First Lady Michelle Obama in the lead, people all over our country are making healthy eating habits for children a priority. This month my students will participate in activities that will help them learn more about making healthier food choices.
Educate Your Class!
This year I was fortunate to have our awesome cafeteria manager, Ms. Partee, and her staff to help educate my students on eating healthy. She took my class on a tour of our cafeteria where they learned how we receive the foods they eat, where it is stored, and how it is prepared. Mrs. Partee also hosted a tasting party for all of our kindergartners. During this time she discussed the importance of eating from each of the food groups.
Here are a few books I have used to teach my students all about healthy eating:
- Something Good by Robert Munsch
- A Balanced Diet by Catherine Veitch
- Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
- I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
After learning about the benefits of healthy eating, our class created a book entitled "If You Eat Healthy Foods." In this book students used words and pictures to illustrate the many benefits of healthy eating. Students also created a book entitled "A Kindergarten’s Journey to Healthy Eating." In this book you will find pictures and written descriptions of all the activities we engaged in during our study on healthy eating.
The Very Hungry Kindergartners
Our class read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. We discussed the different foods the caterpillar ate in the story and focused on whether his choices were healthy or unhealthy. After the discussion, my students created their own caterpillars. Each student was given six circles. We glued the circles together to form a caterpillar. The first circle was used to create the caterpillar’s face. The other five circles represented each of the five food groups. Students cut a food from each food group from a magazine or newspaper. Each food was glued to the appropriate circle to form our now-healthy version of the caterpillar. To accommodate this activity, my students also had the opportunity to sample foods from each of the five food groups. After this activity, we no longer had a hungry caterpillar, but a group of kindergartners who were hungry for more!
Getting Our Plates in Shape
This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” The food pyramid has been replaced by a plate. The plate helps to show students the portion size they need to consume during a meal for each of the five food groups. To help students learn more about selecting healthier foods, we created our own meals. My students used model magic and paint to create their favorite foods from each food group. Each food was later placed on a plate to create a healthy meal. To learn more about the new plate, visit choosemyplate.
Healthy or Unhealthy?
During our study on healthy eating, students brought in empty containers of foods they enjoy. We sorted our containers into two groups, healthy and unhealthy. We used these containers to create our food characters, who will remind us of the foods we need to consume daily and those we should consume in moderation.
Spreading the Word
After learning all about healthy eating, our class decided to educate the other kindergarten classes at our school. To begin their quest, my students were divided into five groups, each representing one of the five food groups. Each day students from one of the food groups visited each of the kindergarten classes to discuss the benefits of eating from their food group. The following week our class hosted “Bring a Healthy Snack Day.” Students helped to create signs and flyers to promote this event. This activity was yummy to the tummies of over 150 kindergartners at our school!
After our study about healthy eating, my parents have been constantly sending me emails about the comments students are making at home at mealtime. They now want to know if their juice is 100% fruit juice or whether the bread they are eating is whole grain! When students can take what they’ve learned at school and apply it to everyday living, I know that my goal was achieved!
What are you planning for National Nutrition Month? Please comment below.