My oldest two have been asking about what foods are healthy, so I thought it was time to help them learn more about what healthy eating is and to help them get a healthy eating plan that could help them monitor their eating on their own (eventually). We started by learning about the food groups and created a hands-on healthy eating plan using free printables from the First 5 California website.
You only need a few simple supplies to create the food groups activity charts I will be sharing with you.
Free printable coloring sheets of the 4 food groups (from the First 5 CA website-download directions are below)
(4) Plastic page protector sleeves
Ribbon, yarn, or a ring fastener
dry erase marker
Food Groups Activity
I found some free printable coloring sheets that work perfectly with this activity! You can find them by visiting the First 5 California free downloads page.
Click on each printable image you’d like to print-I circled the ones for this activity in yellow below.
Then click on each printable.
This will open up the PDF to allow you to print each coloring sheet.
I printed the food groups activity coloring sheets and my preschooler colored each one. She is old enough to know what the foods pictured are called, but younger children may need your help to name each food.
After coloring her pictures of the food groups, we did a little research on how many servings are recommended from each. I jotted down those numbers and then we made our charts for keeping track of how many servings my preschooler eats.
Trace circles onto the coloring sheets to represent the servings that are recommended to be eaten from each of the food groups.
Slip each coloring sheet into a plastic page protector sleeve, or laminate each coloring sheet.
Tie the plastic sleeves together to keep the whole food groups hands-on healthy eating plan packet together. This is the chart where your child can record what they eat throughout the day-simply.
Your child does not have to be a reader to do this-which is why I love using it so much. They can learn just by being exposed to literacy as we talk to them. My preschooler can see the letters that make up the name of each food groups chart. When she wants a snack, it is easy to get a visual of what she has already eaten and what she still needs to eat.
Healthy Eating Plan for Kids
To start using the healthy eating chart, every time your child eats a serving of food, they make an x or color in the circle on that food groups chart. By using a dry erase marker, you can easily erase the markings each night to reuse the food groups charts the next day.
When my child chooses cheese crackers for a snack, she marks an ‘x’ on one of the Grain Group servings. If she eats apple slices and cheese crackers, then she marks another ‘x’ on a circle on the Fruit/Vegetable Group page. Throughout the day, she can look at what food groups she still needs to eat from-this is the part that eventually can foster independent healthy eating habits. (Independence is my main mission as a parent!)
We hang her food groups activity healthy eating plan chart on the side of the fridge. At first, I will need to help my preschooler find the correct food group and remind her where to mark an ‘x’ to keep track of her servings from each of the four food groups, but I know she will catch on to this process and be making healthy food choices all on her own. This food groups activity has helped my children want to make healthy choices, and appreciate the value of good nutrition. I look forward to hearing how it goes in your house!
First 5 California
The food groups activity printable coloring sheets are not the only free activity ideas listed on the First 5 California website! There are easy-to-do activities for Babies, Toddlers and Preschool kids.
I love the “Learning Center” section as well that has resources all about child development and parenting for the first five years of a child’s life. It is a great reminder that our presence matters and it does not take elaborate activities to teach our children valuable lessons. When we Talk. Read. Sing® to our children in those little moments from the time they are born, we are teaching them and preparing them for a great life! I always mention how the simple Name Spelling Song I sing with my children starting when they are infants has helped all of them learn to spell their names by 2 years old! Simple activities lead to big learning-that is what First 5 CA is all about.
You do not have to live in California to use the free resources that First 5 California offers, you just have to visit their site and explore! In the Free Downloads section there are tons of coloring sheets, a free cookbook of healthy recipes, road trip activity ideas and even a sticker chart for rewarding a child with eating healthy and exercising each day over the course of a year-it is a free printable too!
We know that the first 5 years of our children’s lives are precious and our presence is so valuable! In fact, 90% of brain development occurs by age 5, according to First 5 CA.
I know it can be difficult to think of activity ideas for your baby or toddler that do not require you to buy a bunch of supplies. Go explore the free ideas from the #First5California website-it is a great resource for stay-at-home moms. And remember to #talkreadsing every day! 🙂
Take a look at #First5CA and then stop back to let me know what you discovered! What is your favorite resource?
Want another creative idea for teaching children to eat healthy?
Try The Magical Plate-an ebook for kids!