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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Food Guide Pyramid: A Family Affair

In the spirit of Sue's post last week about helping your children make good choices, I wanted to add something that I have been thinking about and give some family involvement ideas for how to implement it.

We all know the Food Guide Pyramid, right? We learned about it in school; it's on every box of cereal we eat and a foundation for the nutrition information given on other things we eat. Did you know, however, that you can MAKE A CUSTOMIZED Food Guide Pyramid for yourself and your family members at mypyramid.gov? You can! It takes into account your age, height, weight, gender, etc. and customizes a Food Guide Pyramid to your specifications.

Then, as if that wasn't cool enough, you can also prepare a menu by clicking on the My Pyramid Menu Planner link. This will bring up the foods you eat and make a bar graph for you to track how much you are getting of each food category vs. how much you SHOULD be getting.

As if THAT wasn't cool enough, there is also a link for Preschool-age kids. SO . . . basically, you can create an individual Pyramid for EACH MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY!

Here's another idea for including your children so that you are teaching THEM how to eat healthily and MAKE GOOD CHOICES and FORM GOOD HABITS:

Take two mailing envelopes and tape them back-to-back (placing the flaps inside or outside; it really doesn't matter -- though I prefer inside).
Next, take a permanent marker and write on the outside of one of them "OPTIONS" or "CHOICES" and on the opposite envelope "DONE."
Then make a slip of paper for each of the required amounts of the different categories of food. So, you might have three slips of paper that say "FRUIT" and three or so pieces that say "VEGETABLE," etc.
Place all of the slips of paper in the "OPTIONS" side of the envelopes.
Add a magnet to the "DONE side of the envelope and hang it on your refrigerator.

As you go throughout the day, choose things from the front of your envelope and then move them to the back (the DONE side). At the end of the day, see how well you did. You can do this with your children to help them start to think in terms of variety and nutrition and making healthy choices. You might even have an "OTHER" treat for when they have emptied their "OPTIONS" envelope by the end of the day or make it a game in some other way.

Pretty cool, eh?

1 comments:

Marshall party of 4

Great idea! I'm planning the FHE already ;).

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