Research has shown that when children have a balanced diet and a good nutritional intake, they are more able to learn better and are more alert.
Being well-nourished and having a healthy breakfast on a regular basis commonly means eating healthy meals that are rich in fibre, vitamins, protein, minerals as well as consuming healthy fats such as eggs, yoghurt, apples and oatmeal.
This type of intake helps to keep up a student's energy levels and has been linked to better academic performance, motivation and greater alertness.
Eating well, especially a healthy breakfast, ‘fuels’ the brain and helps children score better on standardized tests and makes them better at problem-solving.
Children are advised to “Eat the Rainbow!”
This term means adding variety to their intake to achieve a peak balanced diet. For example, naturally colourful foods like blueberries contain antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, and many other nutrients that support healthy growth, and help prevent problems such as obesity and iron deficiency.
Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins C and A, which support consistent healthy joints and eyesight, and lower cholesterol.
Green fruits and veggies, such as spinach, asparagus, and avocado, are high in vitamins which improve digestion.
The table below shows the different vegetables and fruits under each ‘Colour’ and the benefits they bring.
Food Related Activities For All Ages
These food-related activities listed below encourage creativity, stimulate the senses, promote healthy eating and create opportunities to practise practical life skills.
Please always check for food allergies and make sure the children consume the food after the activities (if possible) so food is not wasted.
Idea 1 - Make your own Edible Face
What you need:
- Crackers, bread slices
- Fruits like banana, blueberries, oranges,strawberries
- Something to spread like jam, peanut butter, jam (Check for allergies)
- Kids safe butter knife
- Lay out all the things for your child.
- Ask your child to spread jam on bread or crackers and put eyes, nose, mouth with the fruit choices.
- Can make different faces like a happy face, sad face.
The activity can be extended to use bread as a basis to create the artwork.
Why eat a plain sandwich straight away when you can use a little creativity and change a simple piece of bread into ‘art’ and even add a few ‘smiles’
Follow these Simple Instructions:
- Check any food allergies and stress safety in the kitchen
- Take a slice of bread
- Spread some Jam over it (or other flavours)
- Be creative and think of different creative patterns
- Add and mix in your child’s favorite fruits.
- Set a simple rule - So not to waste food, children must eat the sandwich once they complete decorations.
More unique ideas for bread art can be found here:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoZns-TvoYE - Food Art for Kids | How to Make Sandwiches Smile?
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ln7zxwyjLs 4 Easy Fun Sandwiches for Kids - Fun Food Tutorial
Idea 2 - Paper Chef Hat
Roleplay involves children in performing or acting in real-life situations and building up self-confidence in handling unfamiliar situations. To encourage and empower children in cooking, Chef hat is something simple to start with and allow them to use markers/ felt pens to decorate it to make it unique.
Materials you need:
1.Big piece of white paper (fit your child's head)
5.Markers/ Felt pens
Watch this video for how to make the chef hat!
Idea 3 - S’Mores
S'Mores reminds us of our childhood, family campout and barbecue fun. This can be made at home with you little one if you have an oven. It is like a sandwich with crackers, toasted marshmallow and chocolate bar.
What you need:
- Crackers or Soda biscuit
- Chocolate bar
- Aluminum foil
- Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees.
- Lay crackers/ soda biscuits on the foil sheet.
- Top with chocolate to cover the crackers.
- Put marshmallows on top of the chocolate.
- Place your rack at the center of the oven, keep the door slightly open.
- Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown, about 1-2 mins.
- Pull out the rack and move crackers into a cold plate so children can place another cracker/ biscuit on top to make sandwich
Here are yummy S'Mores
Idea 4 - String Cereal and Make a Necklace
Some students like necklaces and bracelets so why not use cereal to create edible fashion!
Simple materials to use include a ribbon or a string and some colourful cereal.
- Stress kitchen safety and check for allergies
- Lay down the cereal on a flat surface
- Carefully take the ribbon long enough to cover the child’s neck.
- Tie a knot on one end and keep the other end open for the cereals to pass through to the other end
- Pass the colorful cereals through the ribbon and tie a knot on the other side too, to secure it.
- Your colorful cereal necklace or bracelet is ready.
- If you have more than one child then a competition can be held as the child who strings the maximum cereals and eats them in a minute wins!
- Set a simple rule - So not to waste food, children must eat any loose or leftover cereal once they complete the activity.
Here are some videos on how to guide this activity:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msSSDbcOv4I String Cereal Craft
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg4orCdslDs At Home OT Activity: Fine Motor Pasta & Cereal Threading
Idea 5. Touch and Smell A Mystery Food
Children are naturally curious and so this activity can involve food and their sense of smell and touch.
Check for allergies and remind them not to waste food and to consume the food after the activity.
- Adults can hide some food items in bowls and then cover the bowls (Or Blindfold the child)
- Ask the children to touch and feel the food item that they’re familiar with to gain a feel of the texture. .
- Select Fruits or Vegetables such as Kiwis, Carrots, Lettuce leaves or anything deemed suitable.
- Ask questions to give the children clues? Is the item cold or warm? Is it mushy, firm or soft?
- Using only hands and without looking, ask them if they recognize the mystery food.
The Smell Test
- For the smell test, try and use a dozen small jars like Jam jars.
- In each jar, hide familiar food in it.
- You can use onions, oranges, vanilla, mint, coffee or whatever else is in your pantry.
- Cover the food with a paper towel so the child can’t see it.
- Using only their nose, ask the child to smell each pot and try to guess what the hidden food is.
- Kids Guess What's in the Box! | Episode 2 | HiHo Kids
- Kids Guess What's in the Box! | Episode 1 | HiHo Kids
By Christopher Lau, Neetu Sharma, Queenie Wu