Hillary Feerick and Jeff Hillenbrand, authors of The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach, have created a character who gains super powers from plant foods. Mitch Spinach models good behavior and intelligence and shows children how to make smart choices. Feerick and Hillenbrand offer the following nutrition tips to parents of elementary age children.
Educate your kids about nutrition:
The more they know the easier it will be to guide them into making good choices.
Make food preparation a family affair:
The more you involve your kids in the preparation and selection of meals and snacks, the more willing they are to try healthy foods. Even a simple trip to the grocery store to allow them to pick out the fruits and vegetables for the week can make a world of difference. Let older children find recipes online that sound good to them using healthy foods. Allow them to choose how the vegetable of the day is prepared and even help in the preparation.
Don’t make excuses and lead by example:
Don’t say, “My kid only eats chicken fingers.” He/she is not purchasing those chicken fingers. You make the rules in your house. Don’t buy the junk. Kids are born with survival instincts. They will not starve themselves. Once they realize that there are no other options, they will eat, and then they will begin to change their habits. So will you.
Ideas from the authors on using The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach:
- Print a vocabulary list and have kids guess the meaning of each word from the context of the story.
- Use comprehension questions on the Mitch Spinach website.
- Make predictions while reading.
- Draw a still life of fruits and vegetables at home.
- Make posters of fruits or vegetables and their specific nutritional benefits.
- Make a smoothie using the recipe at the end of the book.
- Estimate the number of beans or grains in a jar.