Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nutrition: What's Healthy?

Eating better is a BIG priority for me right now. I'm looking at healthy alternatives to all our favorite meals and snacks, preparing new recipes to ensure we eat more balanced meals, and eating a lot more organic (and a lot less processed) foods.

I expected a lot of resistance from my family.

When my son wondered why his sugary cereal was replaced with a healthier organic one, I showed him the grades each got on the Fooducate app by scanning the bar codes with my smartphone. It was like a lightbulb went off and suddenly, our oldest son was a lot more accepting of the alternatives I was presenting.

I wanted to take his understanding further.

We read a wonderful book by Cath Senker, which supports the changes I'm making in our family's diet. It was a great introduction to food groups and explained, in simple terms, how food can help you be healthy or be bad for you, depending on your choices. It also introduced my son to what it means to be a vegetarian and touched briefly on food allergies.

Once we were done with Senker's non-fiction work, I gave my son his own book to complete.

Download this book free here. Print the first two
pages, flip over and run through the printer again
to print the remaining pages. Staple the spine.
I created this book after conducting loads of research with what I believe are credible sources (e.g. WebMD, Livestrong, and Mayo Clinic). Keep in mind, though, I'm not a dietitian.

The book examines fiber, sodium, and sugar. Kids need to figure out how much of each is recommended daily, then complete an activity that tests their newfound knowledge.

I won't lie, some things required additional explanation, but my son's questions told me I'd found a way to pique his curiosity.

"Popcorn has fiber!" he exclaimed.

"Maple syrup is natural sugar?"

"If 575 milligrams is 1/4 teaspoon of sodium, then 1,150 must be 1/2 teaspoon, right?"

Amen! He wasn't just reading the book, there was comprehension.

To test it, though, he grabbed three pre-packaged snacks from the pantry and completed the following worksheet.

His choices were graham crackers, fruit strips, and pretzels. We looked at the labels to find how many grams or milligrams of fiber, sodium, and sugar were present in each.

He referred back to his healthy choices book and filled in the recommended daily amount.

Then we used the percentage calculator at; find it here.
Download a PDF of this worksheet here.
"Whoa, Mom! How could you buy these? They have a LOT of sugar!" he said looking at the fruit strips.

Mission accomplished.


  1. WOW!!! Thanks for sharing! HERE'S TO HEART HEALTHY EATING!

  2. LOVE this! Thank you SO much. :) I already printed a copy for my kiddos, as I think this is a GREAT way to open their eyes to what's actually in the foods they want to eat.

  3. Thanks, Mommy Bee, for putting this on your Facebook Page. Auntie MaggieB needs to do this for herself!

  4. maybe showing my kids the breakdown of the nutritional content of food will get them to stop begging for junk :) I hope you can come by and share this on our #kidsinthekitchen linky this week

  5. Thanks for sharing such kind of nice and wonderful information......again, beautiful :) I love reading your posts. They make me happy

  6. Thank you ! Using these worksheet to teach my second graders!