Nutrition Activities: Teaching About Vitamins and Minerals
Healthy Food Chart
Have students break into groups and give each group a large piece of tagboard and some art supplies. Instruct students to divide the tagboard into large squares and to write the name of a different vitamin or mineral at the top of each of the squares. Then have students draw pictures of fruits or vegetables that are good sources of that vitamin or mineral in the appropriate square. You might encourage older students to research on their own to find this material. Younger students should be provided with a chart that contains many different types of foods, as well as the vitamins and minerals that can be found in each food.
When You Eat…
It’s not just important to know which vitamins and minerals are in each type of food. Especially for children, understanding how each vitamin and mineral helps their bodies can help encourage them to eat a healthier variety. Choose one type of food that contains several vitamins and minerals, and have students use charts to figure out which vitamins and minerals the food contains, as well as how those nutrients can help the body. Repeat with several different types of foods.
The Vitamin and Mineral Game
Have students collect nutrition facts from products that they eat every day. For example, one child might bring in the nutrition facts from a cereal box, a bag of potato chips, a package of fruit leather, a container of cottage cheese, and a package of hotdogs. Then call out a vitamin or mineral and have students figure out who chose a food that had the highest amount of that vitamin or mineral. The three students with the highest numbers get a point.
Continue until all of the vitamins or minerals have been listed. The student with the most point wins! Use this opportunity to discuss which foods are packed with vitamins and minerals and which are not. If you’d like, play again using nutrition fact lists from several fruits and vegetables to show how many of them are rich in vitamins and minerals.
It is important to include teaching on food and nutrition early on in a child's education to set them up for healthy choices later in life. Do you have any additional ideas for teaching this topic?