I had to quickly come up with an activity for 4 and 5 year old migrant school students. They were coming to tour the hospital and one of the teachers asked specifically for an activity with Dietary. Not only did I have limited Spanish, it also had been a long time since I dealt with children of that age!
Knowing that preschoolers are really into learning colors, I fashioned an activity page based on the rainbow and different colors of fruit. As I greeted the children I asked if they believed they could eat a rainbow. Most of the children emphatically declared “No!” Next I asked if they believed they could eat colors? When I showed them the activity page with different colors of fruit they shouted, “Yes!” I explained that if they ate many different colors of fruit and vegetables they could have a healthy diet. Following that introduction, I showed them how to prepare a fruit parfait. I had three different flavors of yogurt, a bowl of granola, and three different kinds of chopped fresh fruit. While preparing my parfait as an example, I made comments such as, “Yum, green grapes! Bright red strawberries! Yellow bananas! I love them all.” Then with the teachers’ assistance, we had groups of four build their own parfaits. I also explain how yogurt is part of the dairy group and is very important in building bones. I have yet had one child refuse the yogurt and they loved being able to choose which kinds of fruit to use. I was happy to see the teachers have been introducing nutrition at this early age.
By Kay Hougan-Jones, CDM, CFPP, Director of Dietary, Othello Community Hospital
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.