I think it's a great idea to educate children at a young age about food, food sources, and nutrition. One easy way to get started on this topic is to........READ A BOOK!
Here are a few suggestions:
The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons is a great introduction to veggies! It is packed full of information and contains colorful illustrations.
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a fantastic book to teach children about "good" versus "bad" food and the effects they can have on the body.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a beloved classic book, but can be used as a baby and toddler-friendly method of introducing different types of food. Not only is it highly educational (teaches days of the week and counting), but you could talk with your child about what foods are healthy and which are "sometimes" foods.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss teaches children the importance of trying new and unfamiliar foods. Perfect for those picky toddlers!
10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel is another great book for the wee ones. At heart it's a color and counting book, but also a cool segue into a lesson on vegetables. Captivating enough for babies or toddlers.
Other books to check out:
At the Supermarket by Anne Rockwell
Growing Colors by Bruce McMillian
Gregory, The Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert (check out this post on P is for...Peas! that uses inspiration from this book)
Also visit Delightful Children's Books post titled 10 Children's Books About Food.
Use these books in conjunction with food & nutrition activities such as these:
1) Make a shopping list together.
2) Look through grocery store flyers and identify foods. Try to classify them into food groups.
3) Make a collage of foods from magazines.
4) Make a list of your favorite foods.
5) Plant a garden or visit one. For some added literacy fun, play a game like "watering an alphabet garden".
6) Play supermarket at home and raid your cupboards.
7) Experiment with food - play a tasting game, observe changes in food.
8) Create a book inspired meal. For some great ideas visit, The Educators' Spin on it series called Little Hands that Cook with Books .
9) Have a "soup day".
10) Build a tower out of foods like block cheese, or pretzel sticks.
To help end childhood hunger, please visit Share Our Strength.