Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Window to Weight Gain: Food IQ for Kids!

My six year old wants to "science" this summer and I'm all over it. I've been googling fun science projects we can do together and checking my supplies of baking soda and vinegar. 

I stumbled upon this cool activity that can visually teach your young one about why some foods are healthy and some are not: their fat content. I call it "Window to Weight Gain," because it reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons when Homer wants to gain weight really quickly so he can qualify for disability and get to work from home. The doctor advises him to put his food on a paper plate and check to see if the plate turns clear. If it does, that's Homer's window to weight gain!

Same principle applies here! You can download the project plan here, but the jist of it is placing different foods of differing fat content (they suggest potato chips versus grapes) on paper plates and then comparing the relative level of residue left behind. Then, of course, you can talk about what happens to your body when that grease and fat gets eaten: your heart has a hard time pumping blood because your veins get too crowded with plaque, your body gets too big to play sports and run around in comfort, and you might have to start taking medication to help your body work properly. 

Remember, the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation has revealed that heart disease begins in childhood! This is a great activity for helping kids create healthier habits that will prevent poor health later in life.

Yeah, we're also going to make our own crystals and mix up baking soda and vinegar and do leaf rubbings all old-school camp arts and crafts style this summer. But what kind of mom would I be if I didn't take the opportunity to get all preachy about nutrition? A bad one, that's what kind!

Kids are more receptive to healthy lifestyles than we think. Try this out with your kiddos and see where the conversation takes you. It might be towards more grapes and fewer chips!

Get out there and get healthy!


Sarah @ Semi-Sweet said...

Great idea, Heather! Sounds fun AND educational. You could combine science & food by growing plants from fruits & veggies - found this link - I have a very old book that we use - gives directions & ideas - but you get the gist here. Kids love to watch stuff grow!

Healthy Heather said...

Great resources, thanks Sarah! We're so cool. Aren't our kids lucky??? :)

Trevor MacDonald said...

as someone who did a lot of research and reading on my journey to losing 50 pounds, I would say that it's an old canard that fat in foods makes you fat. At least healthy fats. If you want to gain weight, just start eating tons of food laden with refined sugar and spike your blood sugar. Your body will quickly convert that to fat stores. I'm not afraid of plenty of fat in my diet, but very carefully keep sugary foods to a minimum including bready foods.