The primary inspiration for these DIY Preschool Healthy Foods Charts is pretty basic: Sid the Science Kid: Why Can’t I Have Cake for Dinner?! At the end of the book, Teacher Susie is shown in front of a bunch of healthy foods and the kid being read to is to point out what they ate. This had already become a regular nighttime activity for us! (This even inspired us to try Brussels sprouts!) But, the list of foods on those pages is pretty small, and doesn’t reflect E’s eating habits. So, we decided to make a poster on our own!
Initially, I was going to design one big poster, probably 18 x 24 or so, and have it printed in color at the UPS Store. But after some thinking, I decided the large size wasn’t best. I didn’t really have a permanent location for the poster at this time. Plus, the price! So we went more ‘modular’.
The first step is super, super simple. In Word, I made 6 separate pages with food groups. I named them the way that I thought would make most sense to him: Nuts & Beans, Meats, Dairy, Fruits, Vegetables and Grains. We debated whether to include a ‘sometimes foods’ list like they have in the Sid book, but we left that out for now. I put the word pretty large in the top center of the page and printed the set in black and white on cardstock. (So this set of 6 “charts” will be about 20 cents given how you print them.)
Next is the fun part — finding foods to add to the charts. (This kind of project is one of my FAVORITE ways to earn Bing Rewards search points!) What I ended up doing was just placing as many that would fit on a single 8.5 x 11 page. In the end I had six color pages; makes sense as I had six letter-sized charts! It cost about $2.50 for the printing.
We decided to just include foods he eats, for now, mostly because he has such a varied diet. But this would be such a good opportunity to put other foods so the kid could feel quite rewarded once he or she likes those foods! We also chose to put a few of his recognizable “combination” foods on there; mac & cheese, hamburgers, etc. We just put them in the section that makes the most sense.
After printing the color pages of stock food images, I cut them all out of course. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture!)
D and I talked and couldn’t decide whether to let E be part of the process of pasting the foods to the correct charts. We decided to do it ourselves this time. But, again, perhaps with a slightly older child and definitely a preschooler it’d be fun for them to be involved with organizing the foods.
After gluing, we had six very colorful, very customized food charts! I will eventually laminate them. But for now, I am not, as we already had found 2 foods I forgot to print!
So for less than $3 we have a rather robust set of preschool healthy foods charts that are quite adaptable for age, special diets, space, and so on. Hang on the wall or put in a binder. I love this way to explore such an important part of our daily lives!