A New Way to Talk About Food

Monica Gallant, one of our previous UGSRP blog contributors, has been working on a new project that we’re excited to share here. Funded through the Arrell Food Institute and in collaboration with Rainbow Plate, they are developing an exciting Preschool Resource Toolkit to further food literacy in a novel way. Read below for more information!

Did you know that what you eat when you’re young, can influence your health for life? Children’s eating habits and food preferences develop early on. Foundations for a healthy future can be formed as early as age five or six! If you’re a parent or caregiver of young children, this means that you have an important job: to nourish little bodies, and lay the foundation for a healthy future. So, how do we inspire and encourage children to eat and enjoy those foods that will make them healthy and strong? Enter Rainbow Plate!

Rainbow Plate is a social enterprise that creates and delivers evidence-based, interactive food education programs for children, parents, educators and health practitioners.  This joyful, sensory-based approach steers away from nutrition lectures and uses rainbows of real food to spark children’s imaginations, change behaviour and cultivate lifelong healthy eating habits. In short, they make healthy eating simple and fun.

Rainbow Plate programs have directly reached thousands of children around the Greater Toronto Area since launching in 2012. The founder, Janet Nezon, now wants to make this simple and impactful approach available to a wider audience.  She recognizes that there are few practical resources available for preschool educators, parents and daycare providers working with children in this critical stage of development. In collaboration with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, Rainbow Plate is on a mission to bring the Rainbow Plate approach to preschool-age children across Canada by developing a new Rainbow Plate Resource and Toolkit.

This toolkit will translate Rainbow Plate’s core principles and proven, innovative approach into key educational tools and compact, single-page activity sheets. Supported by sensory exploration tips and fun facts, these activities are designed to make food literacy education simple to implement and engaging for children and adults alike. Easily adaptable to any classroom, daycare or home environment, it is their goal that the activities provided in this resource will make healthy eating simple, colourful and fun.

The toolkit is currently in the testing phase and is expected to be launched later in 2018.

Written by Monica Gallant, Project Coordinator and Grant Recipient


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