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Nutrition education activities with fruits and vegetables

Nutrition Objectives

  • Identify common fruits and vegetables. All fruits have seeds inside of them. Vegetables are the roots, bulbs or leaves of plants.

  • Recognize that fruits and vegetables can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways - juices, sauces, cooked, raw and with other foods.

  • Recognize that children need two to three servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day.

  • Notice that food changes when it is cooked.

  • Recognize that snacks have foods from at least two food groups. Recognize the difference between "anytime snacks" and "sometimes snacks."

Activities

1. Provide a variety of fruits and vegetables. Ask children which ones are fruits; which ones are vegetables.

Talk about how many vegetables and fruits we should eat each day. Sort the fruits and vegetables by the following categories:

Colors
Crunchy/not crunchy
Eat cooked or raw or both
Seeds/no seeds
Sweet/not sweet
Juicy/not juicy

2. Prepare the fruits and vegetables for snack. Ask these questions using the five senses.

How does it look?
How does it feel?
How does it sound when I eat it?
How does it smell?
How does it taste?

Use the children's comments to help them sort the fruits and vegetables in new ways. For example, some things taste sweet, some need to be chewed for a long time. Some are squishy, some are hard. Some have skins, some are peeled, others aren't peeled.

3. Explore with the children all the ways fruits and vegetables may be served. Include: raw, cooked; as part of soups, casseroles or other dishes; as juices; and as sauces (apple, cranberry, tomato).

4. Prepare applesauce or mashed potatoes with the children. Before you cook, ask the children: How does it look, taste, smell and feel and sound when you eat it? Ask the children to predict what will happen when the fruit or vegetable is cooked. After it is cooked, as the children the same five questions about senses as in Number 2 above.

5. Talk with children about their favorite snacks. How might you group these snacks? In addition, some new categories are:

  • baked in the oven

  • grows on a farm

  • comes out of the refrigerator

  • comes out of a box

  • tastes sweet

Make a sometime/anytime snack list to send home with the children.

Cooking Experiences:

The children can help prepare the following items: applesauce, fruit gelatin, fruit slurpy, fruit/vegetable muffins, mashed potatoes, zucchini muffins.

Family Activities

As you eat fruits at home, count the seeds.

Source: Darlene Martin, Extension Nutrition Specialist and Program Coordinator, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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