Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Food Group Placemat

Some time ago, I was working my way through a parenting type magazine and found this little thing I decided to keep:

That's how I roll through magazines:  I rip out what I want to check out later and then one of two things happens:
  • Ideally, the ripped out paper is filed in a binder to be referred to later when I am looking for fun ideas.
  • More often than not, the ripped out paper is stacked on the dining room table, along with other ripped out papers, and then moved to the kitchen counter and then back to the table several times, until I do something with it (like file it in the binder) or toss it.
On this particular occasion, I was fast to deal with my little ripped out clippings, and checked out, the DAY AFTER I RIPPED IT OUT (that's a record, people),  Wow!  I had known that some time ago the classic food pyramid that had plastered the walls of home economics classrooms around the country had been replaced with this "Plate" idea.  The basic idea:  fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate with grains (hopefully whole-grains), and the last quarter of your plate with protein.  Throw in some dairy and you're all set.  Anyways, this site has some really neat features and it was quite fun to poke around.  I went to this site just to look, nutrition is one of my "things" right now, but then I found this page with coloring sheets.

We used "Coloring Sheet Option 1," which is a black and white PDF file of the "Plate" image I tore out of the magazine.  My thought was to make a placemat with the kids, so we could make sure we had all the food groups covered, in the right proportions, at meal time.  And what do you do with pre-readers?  You have pictures to accompany the words.  How I want to just post a document with the pictures I found, but I am just not sure how all the copyright-schmopyright details work.  (Can anyone help me with that??)  But, using Google Images, I found some really nice pictures by just searching each food group name.  And then...we were off...

We backed our plates on 12x12 paper and started coloring.  

Doing craft projects with my kids teaches me a lot about myself and a lot about them:
  1. Moments when I realize how much I like to be in control and have to let go of said control:  Watching Eli smear layer upon layer of weird-waxy-orange-crayon-thing on his placemat and watching Abby color with a glue stick.  
  2. Moments when I get insight into my kids' personalities:  I watched Eli color in his entire "Dairy" cup with great passion.   At the same time I saw Abby watch Eli and then do the exact same thing with her "Dairy" cup.  See in the pictures?  Interesting...
Our usual pattern:  Eli finishes in about two minutes and Abby could go for hours.

Finished projects, which we covered in Con-Tact paper.

Finished kids with their finished projects.  Life is rough when your mom makes you make a Food Group Placemat.

Finished projects in use.  It's confusing that cheese is a Dairy AND a Protein. 

And we are now eating in style.  I am sure that Eli wishes for a placemat that is ALL Fruits and Vegetables and Abby longs for an ALL Yogurt placemat.  Well kids, you'll get no sympathy from me because I want an ALL ice-cream placemat.

As a side note, in case anyone is wondering, this is the first art project we have done in a long time.  A LONG time. Just so you know...


  1. I can so relate to #1 about the control- sometime I'll have to tell you about our first gingerbread house attempt. :)

  2. So great!! But then I would have accountability from my kids about what each meal has to include. Yikes, not sure I'm ready for that :)

  3. Great idea, Sarah! And if you make an all ice-cream placemat, make a second for me.