Nutrition for Kids – What Makes a Balanced Meal?

Have you heard of “My Plate”? It’s the newest tool from the USDA 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.)
  • Tape a copy to the bottom of a see-through plastic plate to guide portions of real food at dinner time.
  • Use a copy as a menu for restaurant play, and 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 of? Were they in a cold place or a warm place? The middle of the store or the sides?
  • Post a copy in the kitchen and mark the different sections with stamps or stickers to track what you eat. Assign each family member a different type of marker to make it a game: Eat a balanced diet to win!

We hope you enjoy some healthy, happy playtime this week, and lots of great discussions about nutritious food!

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