The last couple of weeks have been full of firsts for many of us. The first time we’ve experienced a pandemic. The first time we’ve been quarantined at home. And the first time some of us have had to think about homeschooling our children.
For all the parents suddenly finding themselves playing ‘teacher’, here are a few healthy eating activities to incorporate into your homeschooling curriculum.
1. Make your own yogurt parfait
What you need: Greek yogurt, cereal/ granola, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and nuts
How to do it: Cut up the toppings in advance. Add Greek yogurt to the bottom of a bowl or cup and allow kids to choose their own toppings.
Teaching points: Letting your kids play/try/experiment with food is one of the best, if not the best, way to promote healthy eating behaviors. However, if you’re feeling extra ambitious here a few teaching points for you to talk through:
- Yogurt provides calcium which builds strong bones
- Cereal and fruit provide carbohydrates which power your brain and muscles
- Nuts are full of healthy fats which help keep you full and protect organs like your brain
2. DIY Pizza Bar
What you need: Whole wheat pita/naan (1 per person), marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil, peppers, onions, spinach, zucchini, olives, artichoke, chicken/ chicken sausage and/or other toppings of choice.
How to do it: Cut up all the toppings in advance. Give every child their own pita bread/ naan, cover the pita/ naan in a thin layer of marinara sauce and let everyone pick their own toppings from there.
- Cheese provides calcium for strong bones which is particularly important for kids.
- Veggies provide fiber which helps keep your tummy healthy and make you feel satisfied after a meal
- Aim for 3 colors at every meal: Brightly colored fruit and veggies provide lots of different nutrients which help keep you healthy
3. Apple ‘donuts’
What you need: Apples (0.5 - 1 per person), nut butter, Greek yogurt, sprinkles, fresh fruit such as strawberries, and raspberries, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, and cereal.
How to do it: Chop fresh fruit into small pieces. Leaving the core in place, slice the apples horizontally so you have 0.5cm/ 0.25 inch-thick discs. Remove the core from each disc to create a ‘donut’. Spread nut butter or yogurt over each ‘donut’ and let kids pick their own toppings.
- Leave the skin on apples: Apple skin is packed with fiber which helps keep your tummy healthy
- Fruit is packed with carbohydrates which provide energy to muscles, especially when you exercise.
- Nuts and nut butter make a great snack and are full of healthy fats, which help cushion your brain and give you lots of energy.
4. Celery caterpillars
What you need: Celery stalks, hummus, peanut butter, cherry tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, and candy eyes.
How to do it: Chop the celery stalks into 4 inch/ 10 cm long logs. To make sweet caterpillars fill celery stalks with peanut butter, and top with either blueberries or grapes. Place candy eyes on the blueberry/grape at the end of each celery log. For a savory version, fill the celery stalks with hummus and add cherry tomatoes on top (cut the tomatoes in half if need be). Place the candy eyes on the cherry tomato at the end of each celery log. Need help bringing this one to life? Check out this resource.
- Blueberries are a rich source of vitamin C, which supports your immune system and is needed for healing cuts and scrapes.
- Cherry tomatoes are packed with vitamin A which helps keep your eyes healthy and is important for vision.
Edwina Clark, MS, RD, APD (Aus), CSSD
Edwina is a nationally-recognized dietitian and wellness expert, dually credentialed in Australia and the US. She has worked for several early-stage businesses as a nutrition consultant, content creator, and brand spokesperson, and has been featured on sites such as TIME, Women's Health, SELF, and Shape, among others. In her free time, you can find Edwina blogging on edwinaclark.com, running, and planning her next travel adventure.