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Are your kids fussy eaters? Mine are, and I know I’m not alone. Sometimes it seems like most of the parents I know have the same problem. My girls love nearly all junk food, and although they will eat some things that are healthy, it’s not nearly with the same gusto they display when devouring a chocolate biscuit. I try to explain to my kids why I’m saying no to a second chocolate biscuit, or a lollypop at the Supermarket checkout, but all they really seem to hear is the word “no”, and oh, the whinging …
I made these printable activities to help drum in – in a positive way – the benefits of eating healthy food. I explained that we all make food decisions every day that effect our health and the way we look and feel, it’s not just about the instant satisfaction of what we are eating. They don’t have the willpower to make the right decisions now, but I am hoping that by giving them the right knowledge from an early age they will have the power to make the right food decisions for themselves when they are older.
Activity #1 – Junk Food vs Healthy Food
When doing this activity I found out that my kids had already absorbed in their short lives that junk food makes you “fat”. Miss K was very quick to point out that Santa is fat because he eats too many biscuits. This is not the point I am trying to make with this activity. Although this is true enough, I don’t want my girls growing up with a complex about food and fat. We had a talk about what happens if you eat too much junk food, and also the benefits of eating healthy food, because what they really need to know is what’s in it for them. These are the things we came up with:
It’s OK to eat a little bit of junk food sometimes, but when we eat a lot of junk:
• We have less energy and feel tired
• We can’t run as fast
• We don’t look as healthy
• We feel more grumpy
• We get sick more often
When we eat lots of good, healthy foods:
• We have lots of energy
• We grow big and strong
• We can run faster
• We feel better and less grouchy
• We look better
• We stay healthier. We don’t get as sick and don’t catch as many germs.
Following our talk, I set them out 2 paper plates each and a printout of a mixed bunch of foods. One plate was for healthy food, and one for junk food. They had to cut out the foods and sort them out on to the correct plates.
Miss K (almost 4) needed only a little bit of help with the classifications, she knew mostly which foods were junk and which were healthy. Miss R (5 years) had no problems knowing which was which.
I actually found that Miss K stuck at this activity longer than her older sister, who is more inclined to do creative activities for long periods of time. Perhaps Miss R was a bit uninspired by the healthy things because after sticking all her favourite sweet things on the junk food plate she began to get a little bored and didn’t get far with the healthy plate – pictures speak a thousand words, she is my fussiest eater.
The following morning at snack time I was rewarded by Miss R telling me she was going to pick something healthy for her morning tea , and she actually chose some plain rice crackers. Wasn’t I proud!
I downloaded all the food photographs for this free printable from Free Great Picture.
Click here for your Healthy Vs Junk printable
Activity #2 – Filling the trolley with healthy foods
Every week when we are at the Supermarket, my kids are drawn to all the brightly coloured packaging and appealing looking pictures on the processed junk foods. This is the norm, I realise, for many parents. They point at everything yummy they see and want it in the trolley. My policy is that we will buy one “treat” to share for afternoon tea, but most of our trolley needs to be healthy foods. Sometimes we slip up and put more than one unhealthy thing in, or two or three, depending on how hungry and strong I’m feeling on the day.For this second activity I have created a trolley for the kids to “fill” with healthy foods. You will need a supermarket catalogue to flick through and let them cut out the “healthy” things they like to eat and stick them in the trolley on the printable. Miss R was not in the mood for this activity, but Miss K had a go at it with her Gran helping her to cut out the healthy foods she pointed to in the catalogue. After the first activity she had absolutely no problem identifying the healthy things at all. She also drew a few in there with her textas. I didn’t take a picture of the finished trolley she made, but have created a quick example of what it should look like below.
Click here for your Healthy Trolley Printable
More ideas for healthy eating
I hope you find these printables useful. I honestly believe that teaching our kids how to make the decision to be healthy when they are young will pay dividends when they are grown. For more ideas on getting your kids to eat healthy you might like to visit some of these fabulous posts from ourselves and other bloggers listed below:
• Let your kids play with their healthy food by creating food art – and then eating it!
• Make an All About Me Healthy Face or Snack at Learn Play Imagine
• Hear some tips and ideas for combatting Fussy Eating with hangout from Kiddy Charts
• Find some basic strategies to improve your kids eating at Your Kid’s Table
• See how your kids will eat what they make at teachers of good things
• Find some colourful healthy snack ideas at Teach Beside Me
• Find some great strategies on adding extra vegies in to kids diets at Growing a Jeweled Rose
Also, I can recommend this book about how French Kids Eat Everything. I bought it, read it and have tried implementing some of the strategies (which make great sense) within the book. I need to keep working on those strategies, but I’m sure that with persistence, real healthy foods and a relaxed and positive attitude at family meal times we will get there. If you have fussy eaters you can get there too.