Up Close and Personal With The Rainbow Plate
Subscribers and friends here will know, that children’s food and nutrition is something that we take very seriously. In making food as fun as possible sort of way, especially when it comes to teaching and sharing with kids about the bounty of nature and the pure joy and allure that various types of fresh food and cuisine can offer in our daily lives.
Of this (and more), a company such as The Rainbow Plate need not preach to us about. Which is one of the many reasons I love what they’re doing as a company. The don’t preach. They focus less on nutrition lessons and more on inspiring people to simply embrace real food. With a hands-on approach to their programming and supportive resources, they expose people to a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, spark imaginations and cultivate healthy habits. You can can quite easily imagine how smoothly they create a connection betwixt food, play and imagination; getting kids excited about food and for adults to support and nurture kids to become lifelong thoughtful eaters.
With March being Annual Nutrition month in Canada we wanted to share with you, our like-minded readers, some tips and resources to help you take the frustration and overwhelming process of getting your kids to eat. That’s the battle right there, am I right? Never-mind healthy – with little kids especially … getting them to eat anything is a chore. I know I’ve found success in making it into a game, or creating food-themed games and activities outside of meal-time, during our free-play time together.
Janet Nezon; academic nutrition lecturer and health promotion expert is the brainchild and founder of Rainbow Plate. She has spent the last three years delivering its rainbow-inspired ‘field trip-like’ nutrition lessons to over 5,000 kids in the GTA. “Exposing children to fresh, real food in a relaxed and interactive setting is a proven way to ensure that they will develop healthier eating habits for life,” says Nezon. “It’s all about simple, sustainable changes that can make meals healthy and fun for the whole family.” Instead of working only with school age kids, Rainbow Plate has designed a multi-level approach to encouraging children as young as two right up to teens – and all the adults that influence them – to develop their own healthy eating habits.
Hope Paterson is the managing partner of Rainbow Plate and we’ve been pals on Facebook ever since a mutual friend connected us through the private supper club group we’re both in. (It’s so much more than that now, really … it’s a community. But we’re not here to talk about that.)
Throughout the month of March, Rainbow Plate will be sharing its food and nutrition expertise and serving up hands on programming to kids and adults to: combat negative interactions around food at home or at school; improve children’s receptiveness to trying fresh fruits and vegetables; provide tools for teachers to integrate food programming into their Language, Health & Phys-Ed curriculums; revive lunchtime; and inspire kids to become their own healthy habit heroes.
For those of you who don’t live in the GTA but want in on the fun and perhaps some insider tips, Hope shared some with us today…
Tips For Parents of Preschoolers and Kinders
Food explorers use their bodies and all of their senses to explore and enjoy fabulous foods:
- LOOK with your EYES
- FEEL with your FINGERS
- SMELL with your NOSE
- HEAR with your EARS
- And the best part…. you can TASTE with your MOUTH
Two of our favourite fruit songs (try singing them at home with your kids!):
- “Have you ever had an apple?” (Sung to: “Did You Ever See A Lassie”)
Have you ever had an apple, an apple, an apple? Have you ever had an apple and heard it go ‘crunch’? Have you ever had an orange, an orange, an orange? Have you ever had anorange and heard it go ‘slurp’? Have you ever had a banana, a banana, a banana? Have you ever had a banana and heard it go ‘mush’
- “Apples, Apples “ (Sung to: “Twinkle, Twinkle”) Apples juicy, apples round, On the tree or on the ground. Apples yellow, apples red, Apple pie and juice and bread! Apples crunchy, apples sweet, Apples are so good to eat!
Simple tips for helping your child to develop a lifelong, happy, healthy, relationship with real food:
- Provide regular, balanced meals and snacks for your child, with a predictable schedule
- Focus on offering a variety of foods. Children need to learn to like new foods, andthe best way to foster this is through repeated exposure, with no pressure. Did you know that the average child needs 15 tries before they will like something new?
- Let your child choose how much they want to eat from the foods that are available at each meal and snack time, even if they occasionally don’t want to eat at all. Variations in appetite and preferences are normal. Support your child’s developing ability to listen to and respond to the cues from his or her body.
- Eat with your child whenever possible, and focus on making mealtimes relaxed and pleasant. Don’t focus on what anyone is eating.
- Think about making the foods you want your child to eat appealing. Choose a variety of colours, textures and shapes and consider preparing foods in different ways.
- Get your kids into the kitchen – let them help to make their food look great.
If you ARE in the GTA, Rainbow Plate is offering Birthday Party Packages! Contact them they will be happy to discuss your needs with you.
For more tips and ideas about healthy eating and feeding your family well, or to find out about additional Rainbow Plate programs for children and adults, please visit their website.