Making Healthy Food Choices
Children will examine personal food preferences and reflect on food choices available in their community.
The educator will observe the children’s demonstrated knowledge and understanding of concepts related to making healthy eating choices.
Highlighter, Play food (optional), T-Chart
The educator explains that, as a child, you may not have control over your food choices, but you can make the best choice of what’s available.
As a large group, children:
- Brainstorm all the various places during the day where they may eat (e.g., school, home, babysitter, shopping mall, and corner store).
- Consider all these locations, and complete a T-Chart identifying specific foods they like to eat and foods they don’t like to eat throughout the day.
- Reflect on:
- why they like certain foods and not others
- how these feelings of like or dislike came about
- who they might be influenced by in the foods they like or dislike
As a large group, have children brainstorm criteria for what makes a healthy food option. Consider the examples below or reference those available in “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide”. If available, use play food to support children’s food choices.
Educator Prompt: “Being aware of your eating habits is important. You don’t always have control over what you eat, but you can do your best to make the best choices from what is available. For example, instead of fries, you could choose a baked potato or brown rice, if they are available.”
For example food should:
- come from one of the four food groups
- be low in sugar
- be low in salt
- not contain dyes
- follow religious/cultural beliefs
- make you feel good
- maintain balanced energy
- support a positive mood
Using their T-Chart and a highlighter, have children individually review the “foods I like” column on the T-Chart and highlight which foods are healthier options.
As a large group, have children share their responses. Connections should be made between the food choice and the healthy choice criteria identified by the children.
Working with a partner, children select three items from their “foods I like” column that they did not identify as a healthy option. Together, children identify healthier alternatives to their food choices.
As a large group, have pairs share their healthier choices with the group. Again, connections should be made between the food choice and the criteria identified by the children.
In small groups, have children act out where food is available in their school/recreation centre/community/sporting events. Have children brainstorm a list of the food choices available within that location for example:
- Schools: breakfast, snack, or lunch programs, classroom party
- Recreation centre: cafeteria, vending machines
- Community: hamburgers, pizza, pop
- Sporting events: hot dogs, pop, popcorn
As a large group, discuss healthier food suggestions that could be provided at food-related events and venues, and ways that healthier food choices could be promoted, for example:
- selling homemade blueberry-bran muffins at a sporting event
- selling non-food items such as candles, cookbooks, or calendars for fundraising
- bringing trays of cut fruit and vegetables as snacks for parties
- develop classroom celebrations to consist of a balance between physical activities and food
Children complete an Exit Card answering the following question: “What can you do to promote the healthier food choices in your community?”