A popular catchphrase for teaching kids about nutrition is “eating a rainbow.” This is an idea that’s easier for them to grasp since one of the earliest concepts children learn about is color.
Relating colors to what food can do for the body will allow them to gauge more easily if they’ve been eating well. Eventually, they’ll learn about actual vitamins and minerals, but in the interim, they can simply connect a color with a certain body part.
The Colors of Fruits and Vegetables
Of course, when talking about eating colorful foods for a healthy diet, you refer to natural foods with natural colors. Point this out right away when teaching your little ones about eating a rainbow because candy obviously comes in a wide variety of colors. Emphasize the difference between a natural rainbow, which is good for them, and an artificial rainbow, which is actually harmful to them.
With that distinction taken care of, you can teach them this basic guide for healthy colorful eating.
- Red helps make your Heart healthier and stronger.
- Orange helps make your Eyes clearer and sharper.
- Yellow helps protect your entire Body from sickness.
- Green helps make your bones and teeth tougher.
- Blue and Purple help make your mind smarter.
How to Have Colorful Meals
It’s one thing to teach children about the significance of color in food, and another to actually get them to eat these colors. Here are some tips to serve colorful meals that your kids will eat.
- Keep it basic. You don’t need gourmet recipes to make meals appealing to toddlers. You don’t need expensive ingredients either. Start them out on simple dishes and you’ll find out which ones they prefer. Once you know which ones don’t appeal to them, you can work on tweaking them to make them better.
- Switch things up. You can do this to either offer variety or to substitute something healthier. For instance, if your kids love potatoes, you can try using sweet potatoes or squash in the same dishes from time to time.
Meanwhile, an example of healthier substitution is baking your own vegetable chips instead of buying commercial corn or potato chips.
- Make meals fun. Even when you have pretty basic dishes, you can make up for their simplicity by serving them in a more interesting way. Plain cut-up vegetables can be skewered for dipping in fondue. This is a messy proposition, so your kids will probably find it amusing.
Meanwhile, a simple peanut butter and banana sandwich can be cut into fun shapes. There are plenty of fun meal ideas you can apply. Let your imagination guide you.
- Let them choose their fruits and veggies. If you have a kitchen garden, let them be in charge of harvest. If you don’t have a garden, bring them to do the groceries with you and ask them to pick from the produce section. Giving them this kind of control lets them have a sense of ownership towards the meal you serve, thus compelling them to eat it.
The same principle of investment holds true when it comes to letting them help with food prep. Their participation alone makes the food more appealing.
- Let them monitor their rainbow eating. To make it more fun to keep track of the colors they consume, post a chart somewhere in the kitchen or your dining area so they can put a checkmark or a sticker on colors they were able to eat for that particular meal. A sense of accomplishment is involved here, which would make them more driven to eat all the colors every time.
Persistence Is a Must
It’s easy to get disheartened when your kids refuse the food you serve. According to nutrition specialists, young children may have to be exposed to new food more than 15 times before they agree to try it.
Expect the frustration and deal with it in a positive manner. It doesn’t help either you or your kids for you to concede in defeat. Your patience will reward you not only with the fulfillment of an achieved goal, but, more importantly, with healthy kids who know how to make wholesome diet choices.