We've all heard about the importance of eating from the rainbow in order to get a variety of nutrients. In fact, we've probably already taught this concept to our clients in some way. Now it's time for a refresher -- a new way to make eating from the rainbow both fun and possible. Here are a few activity and display ideas to get you started...
Display/Activity #1: Color of the Month:
Make a rainbow on the bulletin board. You can print one out, draw one, build one out of construction paper, or use the Eat From the Rainbow poster.
Then, on the rest of your display, pick a single color and fill in the space around the rainbow with images of fruits and vegetables in that color. These pictures can be from magazines, the internet, or your own drawings. They could also come from the Free Clipart Library or a Food Photo CD. Feature a few sample recipes and fun facts about the nutrient content of foods in your featured color.
Now comes the activity part: it's time for a contest. Each month, ask your participants to contribute their favorite recipe that uses foods in the featured color of the rainbow. You can award points for creativity, healthfulness, and flavor. Discuss what makes a recipe a winner and why. Choose a winner each month and distribute the winning recipe to the whole group. You can also post it on your bulletin board.
Variation: If you're pressed for time, you could do a color of the week instead of a color of the month. Another variation could be to discuss the display and recipes on multiple occasions throughout the month. What fun facts can you share?
The theme of this activity is that there's magic in the rainbow itself, not just in what may lie at the end of it. This activity highlights the “magical properties” of fruits and vegetables, though it's not magic as much as it is good science.
Make your display by featuring a rainbow on the board, then adding pictures of fruits and vegetables that correspond to each color. You could make a mosaic or print/draw images of the rainbow and its foods. Using a marker or pen in the same color as a food with a particular property, write out the name of a nutrient or phytochemical and what effect it has on the body. For example, you could use a red marker to write the word "lycopene," then list the foods that feature it and its health benefits.
Here are some ideas to help get you started...
- Red: Lycopene in watermelon, tomatoes, and strawberries
- Orange: Vitamin A and beta carotene in squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes
- Yellow: Vitamin C in citrus fruits and pineapple
- Green: Carotenoids in kale, spinach, and lettuce
- Blue: Vitamin K in blueberries
- Violet: Resveratrol in grapes and lingonberries
You can find a comprehensive list of foods in the rainbow, along with their health benefits, in the post Eat from the Rainbow.
Encourage your clients to use the rainbow idea to help them choose the foods they're going to eat each week. To get a healthful variety of fruits and vegetables, think a rainbow of colors.
By Cheryle Jones Syracuse
There are lots of resources to help you put these displays and activities together. Take a look at all of our rainbow nutrition education products ...
Of course, I wouldn't just leave you without some free resources! Check out these links to free nutrition education materials that you can use however you see fit...