The Power of Protein

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When Travis gets home from school, man oh man is he tired. I’m dismayed, therefore, if I look in his lunchbox and find food that has gone uneaten, as he learns to make sure he gets enough before rushing off to recess.

So the timing of this lesson plan from Raddish Kids was perfect. It gave me an entry point to talk about why he needs to prioritize certain portions of his meal, and have enough energy for those long kindergarten days.

Start with this fun challenge: I asked him to balance on one leg, which he proudly did as he counted to 10.

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But could he do it with his eyes closed??? Whoa, now he wobbled!

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Raddish’s talking points explain how – just like in this exercise – our bodies need balance on the inside or we might wobble and tip. You can give examples like rest vs. activity and then launch into the idea of eating foods in balance.

The main focus here was on protein. Raddish provided a whole page full of protein facts, and we watched a suggested video. For our vegan family, I filled in a few gaps, explaining how we can get protein from tofu, beans, lentils, whole grains, and more.

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Now it was time to see what he’d learned! We went through grocery fliers and I asked him to pinpoint the protein-rich foods. (Again, this was a bit odd for our family; when there was chicken or turkey, I pointed out that we can eat vegan versions of these). The activity helped him hone his understanding of protein after guessing wrongly on a few items (like tomatoes, or banana bread).

Now it was time to put our bodies to the test! I showed him the My Plate graphic and explained we’d be charting his food for five days. He loved making tally marks.

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My formerly fantastic veggie eater has been nixing them lately, so this was also a nice way to show him where his balance was “tippy”. After a day with only one veggie serving, he was inspired to eat lots more the following day!

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Older kids can extend the lesson by looking at food ads in magazines, and discussing how the advertiser persuades you to eat in a certain way. Your kids may even want to make their own ad!

Overall, this was a useful lesson, though perhaps not as “fun” as other Raddish lesson plans.

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