By Theresa Embry
How do you get children to eat more fruits and vegetables? Allow them to participate in the process of choosing, preparing and serving healthy food! Recently, the Orfalea Foundation’s Preschool Food and Healthy Habits team was invited to participate in three Santa Barbara County children’s health events: the Health Linkages’ local health fair at Santa Ynez State Preschool, the Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main Health Fair, and Discoveries Learning Center’s annual May Day Festival for Families and Friends in Santa Barbara.
Our Apple Peeler-Corer & Taste Test activity was a popular and fun hit for all ages! This activity engages young children in the process of choosing an apple from three varieties, combines coordination and upper body muscle work (turning the apple on the apple peeler/corer contraption), and even includes math skills (charting the type of apple they liked). Children enjoyed the process as much as the “fruit of their labor.”
Some parents and grandparents were amazed that the simple, fun activity so entranced their children. They also took the opportunity to learn more about the Initiative that their early childhood education program has been involved in. Parents were given high quality canvas Preschool Food/Preescolar Comida bags so they can model healthy eating and environmental practices at home, at school, and at work. Look for people using these sustainable bags in your local grocery store.
Healthy eating comes easily to children when it is the norm at home and school. We know from experience that older children enjoy eating food they have grown themselves. Getting younger children to eat more fruits and vegetables, which is so important to lifelong health, can be as simple as involving them in the process of selection, preparation, and serving.
To find out more about the Preschool Food and Healthy Habits Initiative, as well as other programs and initiatives for whole child development and lifelong learning, please visit the Orfalea Foundation website. We hope to see you at an event soon!
Theresa Embry is a Coordinator for the Orfalea Foundation’s Preschool Food & Healthy Habits Initiative.