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Nutrition for Kids – What Makes a Balanced Meal?

2012-11-07 by Melissa & Doug

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When it comes to nutrition for kids, what makes a balanced meal?

nutrition for kids pin

Have you heard of “My Plate”? It’s a tool from the USDA, intended to help families plan balanced, nutritious meals. We think it’s a great tool for playtime, too!

Use the graphic (attached) to guide sorting, tracking, and meal-planning activities with your family. Here are a few different ways to play:

  • Print out My Plate extra-large, and let kids pile play food on top of it, grouping them in the right categories. (Need more food options? Cut out pictures from cooking magazines, or just let kids draw their food ideas right on the paper.)
  • Use child-safe scissors to cut out, then tape a copy of My Plate to the bottom of a see-through plastic plate. Use this to help guide the selection of food portions at dinner time.
  • Use a copy of My Plate as a menu for restaurant play, then let the “servers” make suggestions, make their own meals, and take orders for each food group.
  • Bring along a copy to the supermarket and let kids mark the sections each time they spot a food that belongs. Talk about the results: Which foods did they see the most? Were they in a cold place or a warm place? The middle of the store or the sides?
  • Keep a copy of the My Plate Coloring Sheet in the kitchen, and mark the different sections with crayonsstamps or stickers to track what you eat. Give each family member their own coloring page, and compare your results to make it a game: Eat a balanced diet to win!

myplate.gov printable

Check out these other great, kid-friendly ways to encourage healthy eating:

We hope you enjoy some healthy, happy playtime this week, and lots of great discussions about nutritious food!


Melissa & Doug

Our team of play experts occasionally enjoys sharing news about our company, new product launches, and some of the #CountlessWaysToPlay with our toys, crafts, and games. At Melissa & Doug, we’re on a mission to inspire the innovators of tomorrow through kid-powered play!

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