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Healthy New Year: Food Rainbow

As we go into 2021, TNL want to help encourage all Early Years practitioners to value and promote their own physical and mental good health, the health of the children they care for, and to inspire good habits early and start the year right!

While everyone knows we should be having our five-a-day, as adults we can easily forget to follow through by actually doing it! Help encourage these healthy-eating habits in your Early Years setting with this fun foodie activity. This plan is best suited for individuals or groups of 2-8.

Please note: if your group includes fussy eaters, this activity may not be up their street. However it is up to them if they want to try!

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Large tray
  • Towel (large enough to cover the tray)
  • Plates (one per child)
  • Forks/spoons (one per child)

As well as fruits and vegetables of various colours, for example:

  • Red – Apple & tomato
  • Orange – Orange & Sweet potato
  • Yellow – Yellow pepper & banana
  • Green – Kiwi fruit & Broccoli
  • Blue – Blueberries & Purple/blue carrot
  • Purple – Red grapes & red cabbage
Photo by Pexels

Preparing the activity:

  1. Wash all fruits and vegetables and chop into small, bite-sized pieces (in the case of grapes and blueberries, chop individual fruits in half and for oranges, separate into segments and cut in half), leaving one or two whole fruits of each. If including sweet potatoes, put the chopped potato into a microwave-safe dish and microwave for between 5-10 minutes, until the potato is soft enough to eat. Let cool completely before doing the activity. If doing the activity with younger children, cook all hard foods like carrot and broccoli, so there is no risk of choking.
  2. Arrange the fruits and vegetables on the tray in colour order in either a rainbow shape or just straight stripes, with the whole fruits/veg at the end of each colour. Cover with the towel.
  3. Give each child a plate and eating utensil.

Doing the activity:

Depending on the age of the children, you can discuss their favourite and least-favourite foods. Ask them why they think it is important to have a varied diet. Explain that different foods have different nutrients in them that help our bodies grow and stay healthy.

Place the tray in front of the children and remove the towel. Show each piece of fruit and veg and ask the children if they know what it is and if they have eaten it before.

One by one you can go through the colours and see if the children are curious to taste the fruit/vegetables. It’s up to the children to pick which colour to try or not. Ask them about what they like and dislike about the foods, including smell and texture, as well as taste.

Help the children understand that, even if they end up not liking the taste, it’s a good idea to try new foods and eat fruit and veg regularly as they can help them stay strong and healthy.

Finish the activity by asking the children to pick 3-5 pieces of fruit or veg to put on their plates to eat. Some may want more so they have their own rainbow on their plate!

Tracking the activity:

8-20 months

Physical Development: Health and self-care: “Grasps finger foods and brings them to mouth.”

16-26 months

Physical Development: Health and self-care: “Develops own likes and dislikes in food and drink.; Willing to try new food textures and tastes.”

22-36 months

Physical Development: Health and self-care: “Feeds self competently with spoon.”

­­­­­­40-60+ months

Physical Development: Health and self-care; “Eats a healthy range of foodstuffs and understands need for variety in food.; Shows some understanding that good practices with regard to exercise, eating, sleeping and hygiene can contribute to good health.”