Exploring More About Food

by Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 3rd ed. (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006), 407-408.

Exploring More About Food

Food offers a world of experiences well suited to how children learn. Because food can become a "hands-on" activity, everyday tasks can get kids involved in food – and so promote healthful eating. Try these simple ways to explore food with young children:

  • As you walk the store aisles, encourage children to name the fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle or the canned food aisle, or to say the colors of foods they know. Find foods that are new to them; talk about their color, shape, size and feel.
  • At home, as you take vegetables out of grocery bags, talk about the part of the plant each one grows on: leaf (cabbage, lettuce, greens), roots (carrot, potato), stalk (celery, asparagus), flower (broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke) and seed (peas, corn).
  • Grow foods from seed in your backyard garden. Perhaps start the seeds in paper cups on your windowsill. Kids enjoy eating foods they grow themselves – and it's a great science lesson!
  • Have children help decide what foods to serve. Perhaps show them pictures of vegetables and fruits. Have them pick the ones to make for family meals.
  • As preschoolers are ready, give them simple tasks to help with family meals. They might wash fruit, arrange bread in a basket, put ready-to-eat cereal in bowls or help set the table. Most children like to help. They feel good about themselves when they can say, for example, "I poured it!" Working together in the kitchen offers many chances to nurture children.
  • Expand their world by reading books about food to children. Ask a librarian, preschool teacher or head of the children's book department in a store to suggest titles. Prepare some foods from the stories.
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About the author:

Roberta L Duyff MS RDN FAND

Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Author of "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Fourth Edition" and "365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association" (both published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey).




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

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