Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Red Light, Green Light...Talking to Kids About Nutrition

Anyone who knows me knows that I am always concerned with nutrition. I am very in to "real" food. I do not like to eat or let my family eat anything artificial. 

That includes artificial flavoring, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils and any other "foods" that are made in a lab. I'm really not sure I can call these ingredients food, but this purpose I will. 

So, I came across a Facebook page a couple weeks ago called "100 Days of Real Food". I had to click and find out more. I am very impressed with their success and having over 400,000 followers on there Facebook Page

I turns outs it started as a blog written by a women whose family took a 100 day challenge to eat nothing but "real" food, no processed foods, which is what we try to do every day. Her blog became so successful she now has a team working for her! That's amazing to me! Actually, a dream! 

So, long story short, I liked their facebook page so I could see more of the real food updates and information. Yesterday I saw that the women did an assembly at their local school, which was teaching kids about food. And she has a blog post about talking to kids about food in a way they understand. 

I really liked this since I have 3 little girls who I am always trying to teach how to make healthy choices and the consequences of making bad choices. 

100 Days of Real Food's blog post inspired this project for me to do with my girls. And they LOVED it (mostly because of the cutting and gluing), but all reasons aside, they loved it! 

Here's how it works...(How I told my kids)

Red light foods are foods you want to say "STOP" "EEEEW" "We NEVER want to eat that"

Yellow light foods are foods that "you can eat some times, but not very often". They may be natural, but not very healthy due to high calories, high fat content, or high sugar content (natural sugars of course).


Green light foods are foods that "are so healthy you can eat them anytime of any day"

Here's what you need....

A stack of old magazines
3 pieces of paper
Red, yellow and green markers

My kids, who are ages 5 and 4 by the way, flipped through magazines cutting out all the images of food they could find. 

In the mean time I colored a red circle and wrote "red light" on one piece of paper, a yellow circle and "yellow light" on another piece and a green circle...you get the point. 

When the girls were done cutting I had them each pick up one food item and tell me which category it should be in, then they glued them on the page. 

They did REALLY good. I am one proud mama! 

We did have a little trouble with yellow light foods. It's a little complicated because of a few reasons. 

1. I know kids want to be kids and I do allow them to eat cake at birthday parties and other events, so cake and cupcakes became a tough item to place. I would like them to be red light foods, but I have to choose my battles. My kids' cakes are all natural, homemade:)

2. I make healthy versions of most foods. You will notice the cookies on the yellow light page. That's because I make amazing oatmeal raisin "cookies" that are more of a power "bar" than a cookie. So, again, they were a little confused about cookies. They NEVER eat store bought cookies.

3. There are certain foods, such as ice cream, that I buy all natural versions of. My family LOVES ice cream (I am a non-dairy eater). So, even though most ice creams at the store are full of disgusting ingredients, ice cream in our house is a yellow food.

Green light and red light foods were a little more obvious. 

In my girls' eyes the biggest red light foods are ones that are colors that do not come from nature. They know to NEVER eat or drink anything blue, because even blueberries are not actually blue. 

And green light foods are anything that God created. 

Those categories are a lot easier for them to understand.

You can view 100 Days of Real Food's blog about red, yellow and green light foods Here.

So, how do you teach your kids about real food, fake food, nutrition, etc.? Does anyone feel like this is over your head? I would LOVE to teach about nutrition and natural foods!