This time of year, nutrition is on everyone’s mind. Most preschoolers are extremely picky in what they will eat, often limited to foods like crackers, chicken nuggets, and if you’re lucky, mandarin oranges. This simple Venn diagram food groups activity will help preschoolers learn that some foods are healthy, some foods are not healthy, and some foods are not really healthy, but are fine to eat in moderation. We used general USDA recommendations for our Venn diagram food groups, but you can easily adapt it to fit the diet that your family or school uses.
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR VENN DIAGRAM FOOD GROUPS:
- Large piece of paper (we used 12X12)
- Play food (some healthy and non-healthy foods)
Draw two large circles onto your piece of paper, making sure they overlap in the center.
We labeled our groups “unhealthy food,” “healthy food,” and “foods to eat in moderation.”
I collected a bunch of play food from my girls’ kitchen to use as examples.
I asked my preschooler about each food and whether or not she thought a certain food was healthy or not. We talked about nutrients that the body needs, including vitamins, protein, and fats. For older kids, you could go into healthy fats versus unhealthy fats, but for my preschooler, my main focus was helping her see how some foods help the body, while others hurt the body.
After our short nutrition lesson, I had my preschooler sort her play food into healthy foods, unhealthy foods, and foods that aren’t necessarily unhealthy or healthy, but that should be limited. For example, we put a peanut butter sandwich in the “moderation” group, because it has a lot of sugar and low protein (although it does have some protein, so it isn’t completely unhealthy).
I’m hopeful this activity will help her be more open to eating a greater variety of foods.