When it comes to nutrition for kids, what makes a balanced meal?
Have you heard of “My Plate”? It’s a tool from the USDA, intended to help families plan balanced, nutritious meals. We think it’s a great tool for playtime, too!
Use the graphic (attached) to guide sorting, tracking, and meal-planning activities with your family. Here are a few different ways to play:
- Print out My Plate extra-large, and let kids pile play food on top of it, grouping them in the right categories. (Need more food options? Cut out pictures from cooking magazines, or just let kids draw their food ideas right on the paper.)
- Use child-safe scissors to cut out, then tape a copy of My Plate to the bottom of a see-through plastic plate. Use this to help guide the selection of food portions at dinner time.
- Use a copy of My Plate as a menu for restaurant play, then let the “servers” make suggestions, make their own meals, and take orders for each food group.
- Bring along a copy to the supermarket and let kids mark the sections each time they spot a food that belongs. Talk about the results: Which foods did they see the most? Were they in a cold place or a warm place? The middle of the store or the sides?
- Keep a copy of the My Plate Coloring Sheet in the kitchen, and mark the different sections with crayons, stamps or stickers to track what you eat. Give each family member their own coloring page, and compare your results to make it a game: Eat a balanced diet to win!
Check out these other great, kid-friendly ways to encourage healthy eating:
- Encourage Healthy Eating with a “Kid’s Restaurant”
- FREE PRINTABLE: Healthy Eating Shopping List for Kids
- Playtime Ideas for Raising Healthy Eaters
- Painted Rainbow Lunches
- Quick Tips: Making Friends with Food
- Quick Tips: Helping Picky Eaters
- Parents’ Corner Question: How Do You Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies?
- Nutritious Choices for the Lunch Line
- Color-Inspired Farmer’s Market: Teaching Kids About Color through Food
- Introducing International Foods to Kids
We hope you enjoy some healthy, happy playtime this week, and lots of great discussions about nutritious food!