Nutrition is about balance and variety. What I teach my kids about the food pyramid, in any of it’s forms (like mine below), is that we should be selecting food from each food group, each day. We don’t worry about technicalities or make it difficult. This is a typical afternoon conversation at my house:
Erica: I’m staaaaarving!
Me: Well, what food groups have you eaten from today?
Erica: I’ve had toast, cereal, a muffin, and some rice.
Me: Hmmm, well, I suggest you choose something from A DIFFERENT food group besides the grains. What food group do you think you want to eat from next?
I love this approach. It puts the ball back in their court, making their own decisions. It shows them they can’t eat from one food group exclusively and that they all play a role in a healthy diet. I sometimes bother with the question of what each group can offer us, like:
Milk and Dairy is good for strong bones.
Meats and beans is good for building muscles.
The grains is a good source of energy.
The fruit and vegetable groups are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.
I put together these muffin tins based on Muffin Tin Monday . From top to bottom, my muffin tin included
The Milk/ Dairy Group:Cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese
The Meat/ Beans group: Beans, hard boiled egg, nuts and seeds
The Grains group: Oats, cereal, Quinoa
The fruit Group: peaches, applesauce, blueberries, bananas
The Vegetable Group: Spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli