It’s easy to be daunted by trying to decide what to eat, and even more so when it comes to how to feed your family. I have always loved visuals – they help me to understand new concepts and think about how to apply them to my own life. The USDA has been helping people to understand what makes up a healthy diet for as long as I could remember – but for years, their diagrams were complicated and often confusing. This “plate” is their most recent version – and makes the most sense to me. It’s also useful for kids – as long as they know which foods fit into each category. That’s the tricky part!
Tips on Eating a Balanced Nutritious and Healthy Diet
- Aim for variety. Can you eat fruits and vegetables that are every color of the rainbow each week?
- Try to eat foods that grow, rather than foods that were made in a factory. Real foods will help you avoid any added chemicals that aren’t good for your body.
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables!
- Make half of your grains “whole grains” which contain more nutrition and fiber.
- Can you eat at least 3-4 different types of proteins every week? Did you know that you can get protein without eating meat? Try quinoa, beans + rice, and nuts (if you aren’t allergic!)
- Dairy gives you calcium to help your bones be strong. If you can’t drink milk, don’t worry– there are other choices! You can drink calcium and vitamin D-fortified almond or rice milk or even juice. Many cereals are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
It takes practice to learn which foods belong in each food group shown on the USDA plate above. I’m making a series of fun activities for kids to reinforce these concepts. The first one that I have completed is a Food Group Bingo Game. My version of the game includes a call sheet for each of the food groups as well as 20 different Bingo cards. It’s easy to play – just put a marker (I like to use dry beans) on the squares that have been called. The first player to mark all of the items in a line wins. If you want to make the game a little trickier, players can try to complete an X on their board, fill in the squares along the perimeter, or fill every single box!
What I love about Food Group Bingo is that it helps kids of all ages to become more familiar with examples of new foods, what they look like and which food groups they belong to. For students who are just learning English, it’s an incredible opportunity to learn new vocabulary. And who couldn’t use a little more familiarity with how foods are classified? (Um, NO…EGGS are NOT in the dairy group!)
This Food Group Bingo activity is my most popular product! It’s also part of a larger bundle that includes a Food Group Salad recipe, food group word searches and matching activities.
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