“I’m hungry.” The litany starts soon after supper and lasts until bedtime. Up until now, I just assumed it was part of parenting. As we prepare for a new school year, I realized that I wanted to teach my five girls a bit about more about nutrition. I looked up serving recommendations for their ages and sizes, and the Hungry Wall was born.
What is it? Each child starts the day with color coded servings of fruits (blue index cards), grains (yellow), vegetables (green), proteins(red), and dairy (white) on one side of a divided envelope. As they get meals and snacks, the move the appropriately colored card to the other side of their envelope. If they are still hungry after they have used up all of their cards for the day, they can have extra fruit (not fruit juice) and veggies.
This has been super informative for me, as I have often given my kids options for breakfast, lunch and snacks. It’s helped me see who is getting their servings of veggies in, and it has COMPLETELY stopped the constant “I’m hungries”. They know that my response to that is going to be to check their envelopes and encourage them to chow down on raw carrots or cucumbers.
Portion information is listed on a color coded chart that matches their cards. So far, the kids have delighted in measuring out portions with measuring cups “just to make sure they get the right amount”.
We’ve been very careful not to make this a “diet” thing, although across the family we have some who could afford to gain and other who could afford to lose. We have made it about eating well and getting the right fuels that our bodies need. Even my husband and I have envelopes, which has been really helpful to me as I am one who could afford to lose. Instead of worrying about counting calories, I can simply focus on getting the right servings of various things.
The serving recommendations came from both the website below and the ChooseMyPlate.gov website.
A lot of great information, charts, and kid friendly recipes can be found at http://www.nourishinteractive.com/