Preschoolers Eat the Rainbow!
As part of the 6th Let's Move! STL Anniversary event, the City of St. Louis Department of Health teamed up with daycare centers around St. Louis to promote health and wellness. Four daycares including SouthSide Early Childhood Center, Adventure Learning Center, Kim's Kids, and Hilltop Day Care Center participated in the nutrition educations. The theme was centered on "eating the rainbow" which encouraged 3 to 5 year olds to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables. Children learned about the five color categories of fruits and vegetables which consisted of red, orange/yellow, green, blue/purple, and white, developing an understanding of why it's important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure healthy growth and development.
A coloring activity allowed the children to identify the names and colors of different fruit and vegetables. In addition, a snack of carrots, sugar snap peas, raspberries, blueberries, and cauliflower was provided so that each child had an opportunity to "taste the rainbow" too!
The Let's Move! STL initiative focuses on getting children up and active. So, in addition to teaching them about eating fruits and vegetables, activity was promoted in the form of dance. The Kid's Bop version of "Uptown Funk" was played at each center with a follow-the-leader style dance. The children were energetic and lively as they moved and grooved to the up-beat song. The importance of moving one's body everyday was emphasized. The children discussed other ways to keep active at home and after school. They were 'jazzed-up' about the fun and active environment and were encouraged to find ways to be more active every day.
The children were all given a take-home activity that reviewed the fruits and vegetables in the different colors of the rainbow, and shifted the focus to what this looks like on one's plate. It showed how the fruits and vegetables should cover half of the plate. Another handout was sent home to the parents, which reviewed in more detail, the different components of a healthy plate using Choose My Plate, and detailed how important it is for kids to get a variety of healthy foods.
This program was very successful in getting the children moving, while also allowing them to test the waters', so to speak, with healthy, new foods. The multi-dimensional approach to health education engaged them well. The end result: the children left with take home lessons, tips to be healthier, tools to involve the families, and a better attitude toward a healthy lifestyle.
Resources for the children were provided by: Whole Kids Foundation and the USDA's Choose My Plate.
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Department of Health
City of St. Louis
Department of Health