Eat A Rainbow Halloween Style

Eat a Rainbow Presented by Travis County Master Gardeners

Master Gardener Eat a Rainbow Volunteers Posing for Camera

From left, Peggy Hart, Emily Waters, Beverly Brentwood, Eli Mueller, Mei Yi Pflum, Jana Beckham, Judith Craft, Laura Wilcox, Evelyn Hootkins, Darlene Watson, Kim Leon

How do you get almost 400 third and fourth graders excited about healthy eating with Halloween approaching, which is one of the unhealthiest holidays? Answer… use a colorful poster, sparkling bracelets, and interactive teaching to reinforce that colorful foods are healthy.

Kim Leon teaching two children about nutrition

Travis County Master Gardener Kim Leon teaching students the connection between color and nutrition.

Twelve enthusiastic Travis County Master Gardeners did just that at the Science of Agriculture Event at the Travis County Exposition Center on Thursday, October 5th. The event consisted of eight separate sessions for the Title 1 schools. The children divided into three groups for each session to encourage participation.

Halloween Theme Scares Up Interest

Adults using a skeleton poster to teach students

A skeleton poster associates food color with helpful nutrition.

A Halloween themed spooky skeleton poster illustrates how eating a rainbow of colors affects different parts of the body. The brain, eyes, skeleton, teeth, heart, aging, and the immune system are all tied in with food. Students learned that red is not the only color food that is good for their heart. White, yellow, and orange are “heart healthy” too. Children then called out foods that were red, white, yellow, and orange to illustrate their understanding.

colorful vegetables for children to guess where they belonged on the eat a rainbow activity

Fresh food of different colors for children to identify.

Next, Master Gardeners held up actual, fresh food of different colors and asked the children to identify them. The foods chosen were not on the poster and not ones that they normally see raw. The children identified the food and the targeted body part. Some of the foods relating to the heart included sweet potatoes and mushrooms. As expected, with Halloween right around the corner, pumpkins were frequently called out as healthy food.

Bracelets Crafted As Reminders

Colorful beads representing food groups on children's wrists

Eat A Rainbow activity teaches children that specific colors of fruits & veggies help specific parts of the body.

beaded anklet

Why should wrists have all the fun?

At the end of each session, Master Gardeners distributed black chenille stems and bags of colorful beads that sparkled. Each bead represented a color of food covered in the presentation. As the children strung their beads, Master Gardeners reinforced that each colored bead represented specific healthy foods. The children delighted in wearing their bracelets on their wrists, as well as on their ankles.

The children were encouraged to share the information with their families and to keep the bracelet as a reminder that they should “eat a rainbow.” All of the Master Gardeners felt that this was a fun and worthwhile experience. As a result of this event, children learned that many colorful foods can be healthy and target specific parts of the body; they just have to “eat a rainbow.”

The program “Eat a Rainbow,” developed by Travis County Master Gardener JaNet Booher. It’s a crowd favorite at plant clinics and other community events.

This article was written by Evelyn Hootkins, Travis County Master Gardener and coordinator for the Eat a Rainbow activity.

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