I love teaching my children about making healthy choices when it comes to meals and snacks. It’s a skill that I wish I could master for myself and when I’m talking to them about healthy food choices, the mommy guilt kicks in (in a good way) and reminds me that I should be taking my own advice. Healthy food activities for preschoolers should teach them to eat from all the different food groups in a balanced way. Fun food group activities can teach healthy eating, and vocabulary for a variety of foods, in a positive way. No nagging necessary, moms!
Printable Healthy Food Activities For Preschool
FOOD GROUP ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL
HEALTHY EATING FOR PRESCHOOLERS CAN BE TRICKY. THEY DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF EACH FOOD CHOICE THEY MAKE.
Teaching healthy food choices is hard! When the aisles of the grocery store bombard you with eye-catching food and drinks that aren’t healthy, it can feel like a losing battle getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables.
Nutrition activities for preschoolers should emphasize healthy food choices in a positive light. Over time, kids begin to understand the importance of making healthy choices.
I have always had the same approach to food for my kids that has, thankfully, helped them develop a desire for healthy foods. When they were toddlers going through their food exploration stages, I would make sure to provide at least one meal a day with foods that I absolutely knew they would eat. I didn’t allow a lot of junk food, so they didn’t have those cravings. For the other meals, I offered things that were healthy, but more of a stretch for their growing palates.
We have continued this for the last 11 years and I can say with pleasure that my kids will seek out fruit for a snack before they will seek out cookies and other junk food items. (In part because they know it’s not in the house and we would have to make it from scratch in order to have it.)
As the kids have gotten older, I’ve put more of the food choice responsibility into their hands. I provide them with a good variety of breakfast choices, by buying the food. Now the older three kids, ages 11, 9 and 6 are responsible for preparing their own breakfast of choice. One consistently chooses oatmeal, one will choose granola over chocolate balls, and one likes a variety. When the cereal runs out for the week they like yogurt and fruit for breakfast.
Here are some questions you can ask your kids when making food choices:
- Why are fruits and vegetables important to eat?
- What’s wrong with eating lots of sugar?
- What is processed food? Is it good or bad?
- Why do you need to drink milk?
What Can Preschool Food Activities Teach?
FOOD PYRAMID FOR PRESCHOOLERS
LEARNING ABOUT THE FOOD PYRAMID HELPS KIDS UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HEALTHY VS. NOT HEALTHY TO EAT.
Teaching kids about the food pyramid gives them a great visual about the healthy food required to make our bodies run well. Here are the five food groups, from the bottom of the pyramid up:
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Milk, Yogurt, Cheese & Meat, Fish, Beans, Eggs
- Fats/Oils & Sweets
Why Is It Important For Kids To Learn About Healthy Food and Nutrition?
Children are naturally curious about everything around them. Learning that the different foods in our world can have different effects on the body is important.
Background Knowledge: Food themed games and activities help kids understand what food is used for in the body, why we need it, and why it’s ultimately our own choice how we fuel our body.
Prevent Disease: Many chronic illnesses are caused by poor nutrition. While doctors may be able to prescribe a remedy, sometimes its as simple as changing your diet to include essential nutrients the body needs.
Good Habits: We establish eating habits early in life and they can be hard to break. If you grow up not understanding nutrition and only eating what tastes good, chances are you will not have healthy habits as an adult either.
Mental Health: Good nutrition extends throughout the body and the mind. People that feel strong and healthy and fuel their bodies with nutritional food most of the time will have better mental health, too.
How to Play Food Slap-it! Card Game for Kids
Preparing the Card Game:
Print the game cards. I recommend using the back side of scrapbook paper so the cards are not see-through. Laminate if desired.
One game is an”Old Maid” style game of matching foods from the different food groups. The person left with the last junk food picture is the loser.
The other game is one of my super fun Slap-It games. The directions are included in the printable.
These games are something that kids of all ages can play because they don’t require reading (Slap-It! includes a bit of reading as an option, but it’s not required for the game to work).
More Food Activity Ideas for Kids
Role playing with play food in a child-size kitchen (or not) is a great way for kids to use the knowledge and vocabulary learned about healthy food.
Cook At Home
The more you involve your kids with cooking, baking, making homemade fruit juice, etc., the more they will understand about healthy eating and good choices.
You can use the same game cards as a memory match game as well! Or just draw a card and talk about the food, what it does for the body, or why it’s healthy/not healthy.
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More Food Theme Activities!
Don’t stop here! Seriously, what kid doesn’t love playing with their food? So, naturally, learning with their food has to be a favorite too…
Get even more food activities below!