Teaching preschoolers about healthy eating habits through a food and nutrition preschool theme is not only fun but also effective. These free food and nutrition preschool lesson plans include 16+ healthy eating activities for preschoolers. Our free lesson plans can be taught any time of the year, too!
As you delve into the contents of this blog post, you’ll discover creative and easy preschool activities designed to nurture an understanding of nutritious choices in a fun way!
Teaching a food and nutrition preschool theme is a great way to teach children about eating healthy. We love teaching healthy eating to preschoolers right before the holiday season, these nutrition lesson plans activities can really be used any time of the year.
As we all know, healthy living has to be taught…so why not start by teaching healthy eating habits in preschool? This post features more than 16 healthy eating, health, and nutrition activities for preschoolers and toddlers.
Activities include fun food group games, fruits and vegetables learning activities, as well as what healthy eating looks like. They even get to practice their knowledge at the grocery store (a pretend grocery store or the real one!).
All my Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans are free on my website. We now have over fifty weekly theme lesson plans, and that list is ever-growing. For your convenience, we also offer all our published lesson plans in our Learn At Home Bundle.
FAQ About Teaching Healthy Eating to Preschoolers
You might have some questions about teaching food and nutrition to your preschoolers. We’ve put together some top questions and answers about teaching healthy eating habits in preschool.
Start with some high quality lesson plans! (I’ve got you covered there.) But here are some more tips to help get you started:
If you don’t follow any kind of dietary restrictions, follow the USDA food guide. Encourage children to learn about new foods and try a variety within each food group. Offer fruits and vegetables for snacks. Be mindful of sugars in prepackaged foods and use the “healthy versus sometimes” method.
The “healthy versus sometimes” method of teaching good eating habits takes the negativity out of foods that are high in sugar or high in fat. Instead of saying your preschooler can’t have a particular food because it’s a “junk” food, refer to it as a “sometimes” food.
“Sometimes” foods are those that are not nutrient dense and should be saved for celebrations, parties, and holidays. The important thing to stress is that these foods are not innately “bad.” It’s okay to have them during the appropriate circumstances, but they aren’t the healthiest choices we can make–therefore, we save them for special occasions.
You’ll notice that all of the Food and Nutrition activities on this site–including these Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans–are centered around the “healthy vs sometimes” food methodology.
Healthy Eating Lesson Plans
These activities can easily be incorporated into your health lesson plans for preschool. We enjoy an entire week or more of a healthy eating theme in preschool, so these nutrition classroom activities are just the right fit.
Literacy Activities for a Food and Nutrition Theme
Weekly Menu – Invite your preschooler to help write the week’s menu together. Encourage detailed pictures and beginning letter sounds for each word on the menu. Once the menu is completed, bring the list with you to the grocery store and check off the items that you purchase. Allow your preschooler to be “in charge” of grocery shopping and tell you what items need to be put in the cart.
Food Box Alphabet – Find empty food boxes from the pantry or fridge and cut out the letters in your preschooler’s name. Write your preschooler’s name on a sheet of paper and then invite him or her to glue the letter cut-outs onto cardboard to spell their name. Food cardboard can be difficult to cut so you may need to assist in the cutting. Invite your preschooler to also cut out things they like to eat from magazines and decorate their name piece.
You can take this up another notch by using clear contact paper to “laminate” their creation and then use it as a placemat at mealtime.
Nutrition books for Preschoolers
These food and nutrition themed books are a great way to learn about new foods and kickstart conversations about healthy eating!
Math and Science Activities for a Food and Nutrition Theme
Counting Soup – Make a counting “soup” by offering several small toys and a dice. Roll the dice and then count out that many toys, add them to a pot, and stir, stir, stir! You can use a dice with pips or a numeral dice if you want your preschooler to practice number identification.
Fruit and Veggie Patterns – Make colorful patterns with these fruit and veggie pattern cards. Print and invite your preschooler to create easy and challenging patterns with fruit and vegetables. Invite him or her to name the food and create different patterns.
If you don’t have a printer, you can easily replicate this activity by using squares cut from colored construction paper. Challenge your preschooler to think of fruits and vegetables that are the same color as the squares you’re using.
Healthy vs. Junk Food Sort –This is great way to teach about “sometimes foods” and “always foods.” Cut out foods from newspaper ads or magazines and create a list of always foods (healthy) and sometimes foods (junk food). Start by folding a piece of construction paper in half lengthwise, and then label one column “Healthy Foods.” Add a smiley face.
Label the second column “Sometimes Foods” and add a flat face (two eyes and a straight line for a mouth). Then sort the pictures cut from the newspaper ads. This activity is a good time to discuss good health and the value of healthy foods for our body.
Play Activities to Teaching the Theme Healthy Eating
Get Moving– Invite your preschooler to try new exercises. Can you do a pushup? Burpee? Mountain climber? Encourage your preschooler to make up their own exercise routine to stay fit and healthy. And create an exercise log for the week!
Food Box Towers – Grab those empty food boxes and build a masterpiece! Build towers with empty food containers and see how many you can add to the tower before it crashes. Keep trying! You can also do this with cleaned food cans. Just tape the open end with some masking or duct tape to keep little hands safe.
Play Color Corners – Go to a room and label each corner with a different color of construction paper. Close your eyes and invite your preschooler to choose a corner. Call out a color and if your preschooler is there you win! Challenge your preschooler to think of food items that are the same color as the construction paper in that corner. Trade places and play again.
Food and Nutrition Theme
These food and nutrition toys and activity sets are a great way to practice hands-on learning around a food and nutrition preschool theme.
Social-Emotional Activities for a Food and Nutrition Theme
Social Time at the Table– We all know eating is a social time…so use this special time to your advantage. Create a list of fun and silly questions to ask one another at dinner time. Here are some ideas:
- Would you rather be a fly or a grasshopper?
- If you had $100, what would you spend it on?
- What household chore is your least favorite?
- Would you rather ride your bike or go to the pool?
- If you could be in charge for the day, what would you do?
Encourage your preschooler to use complete sentences while speaking.
Eating with Manners – Go to YouTube and listen to the book How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. These silly dinosaurs are quite rude at the beginning of the book. Ask your preschooler to go back through the book and pick out the things that the dinosaurs are doing that are rude and model poor manners.
Encourage your preschooler to share all the ways that they can show manners when they eat with others like saying “excuse me” or chewing with their mouth closed or staying calm and quiet at the table. Eating together is a positive thing, and eating together with manners is great fun!
Fun Food Activities for Preschool
Eat the Rainbow – Encourage your preschooler to set a goal to ’eat the rainbow.’ This will help encourage good eating habits and mindfulness around food choices. Eating the rainbow helps us remember to eat a range of foods, and therefore a variety of nutrients in a healthy diet.
Cooking at Home – Grab a favorite recipe and invite your preschooler to help. Young children learn so much by being in the kitchen, including mixing and scooping, measuring correctly, and holding a child-safe knife appropriately. Plus it’s so fun!
Dramatic Play Kitchen – Gather empty food boxes and cleaned out food cans for the dramatic play area. Set up a table for a restaurant and pretend to cook the food. No play kitchen required!
Online Activities for a Food and Nutrition Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book Eating the Alphabet Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert. Point out the fruits and vegetables that your preschooler has already eaten. Which new fruits and veggies does your preschooler want to try?
Good Foods Song – This popular song by Jack Hartmann is great for modeling foods that help you grow big and keep you healthy.
Fruits and Vegetables Song– Help your preschooler learn all the fruits and veggies and add them to your grocery list for a taste test!
Get Healthy Eating Lesson Plans Here
Think you want to try out these free food and nutrition lesson plans for preschool? Grab your own copy here. Just click the image below and a PDF will be sent to your inbox.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.