As a kid, I loved vegetables (I think I told you guys about my love of tomatoes and fresh fruits and veggies in this garden signs post already). But I know I’m not the norm - it can be tough to force those leafy greens on kids! And since we adults are still trying to keep those New Year’s resolutions for healthy eating, what better time to teach our kids and families about healthy eating?
I ran across a neat solution to this conundrum recently on a blog I read - http://justcallmechris.blogspot.com/. She had a super-cute idea for a laminated placemat with nutritional information on it. Doesn’t sound too exciting to you? Just think about how many times you’ve read the back or sides of a cereal box while sitting at the breakfast table (I know someone who can quote the percentage of riboflavin in a serving of Cheerios…no joke). This nutrition label placemat is just like that – it’s colorful, it’s new and interesting and it gives kids something to look at/do while they are munching away.
Things to include on your placement might be:
· Pictures of fruits and vegetables with the names of them to help younger kids identify less-common things like eggplant and star fruit. You could even play a matching-type game with them.
· A picture of the food pyramid.
· Fun facts about calcium for healthy bones, vitamin C for healthy eyes and to ward off illness, protein for strong muscles and so on. You could even leave space for funny pictures and give examples of foods that contain these things.
· A chart to track which foods you’re eating and where they fit in a healthy diet. If you need three glasses of milk a day, you could put little stickers in the chart when you’ve had the three glasses (or do it weekly or monthly so the mats last longer).
· A combination of all these! Or, if your kids are older, work with them to design something cool for the whole family.
It’s simple to make the placemats. I even did one for the kids of some friends of ours. I used a tabloid-size sheet of paper to design my mat and then had it printed and laminated (to protect against sticky spills) at my nearby FedEx Office
for just a few dollars. In fact, the blog that sparked this idea for me offers a great template
that you could use to make your very own nutritional placemat.