Teaching your children about the food pyramid is an important lesson in healthy eating. The food pyramid is ideal for children because it gives them a visual reference to remember. Use props to help them discover more about healthy eating, and choosing foods in moderation. Knowledge about the food groups and how to eat is a lesson that they will take with them for the rest of their lives; that could affect their health, eating habits and relationship with food in the future.
Cut a large triangle out of a piece of poster board. It should be large enough to fit all of the different strips of color in it for the pyramid, along with pictures of actual food. The larger you make the triangle, the more foods can be glued onto it as a learning tool.
Cut colored strips out of construction paper in orange, purple, green, red, yellow and blue. Cut their widths according to the children's food pyramid located on the United States Department of Agriculture website, found in the Resources section. The thickness of the strip denotes how much of the foods should be in your child's diet. The thicker the strip, the more of those foods can be enjoyed.
Place the large triangle up where the children can see it, and hold up the colored strips. With the children watching, write the name of the food group on each strip, and place it on the triangle while giving some comprehensive examples of foods that might be included in that particular group. Use glue to stick the colors on until all of the strips are filled in.
Hand out old magazines, and have the children go through them to find pictures of food. Have them cut out the food from the magazines with safety scissors. They can cut as many pictures out as they want, keeping in mind that you may need a large pyramid to fit on all of the pictures.
Invite each child to take a turn to come and place the picture of food that they have under the correct food group on the pyramid and glue it on. While they are placing the foods, talk about the foods they have chosen, if they like the food and whether it's a healthy food to eat. When everyone is done, the food pyramid should have a variety of food on it.
Indicate the difference between foods that are nutritionally dense and those that have empty calories and don't offer much in the way of nutritional value. Indicate that most of a kid's diet should be made up of nutritionally rich foods, while sweets, salty foods and oils should be kept to a minimum as an occasional treat. Talk about trying lots of foods. You may also want to have some foods available for sampling.