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A Fresh Approach To Food Education


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the Rainbow Food Education Foundation

 

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A Fresh Approach To Food Education


Powered by

the Rainbow Food Education Foundation

 

Imagine standing in front of a table full of real, fresh, vibrant food – an entire rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Kids touch, smell, feel, prepare, explore and play with the food. Magic happens. They forget about ‘I don’t like it’ and dive in.
— Janet Nezon (Founder, Rainbow Plate)

Meet Rainbow Plate

When did food get so complicated?

We can help. We provide evidence-based, interactive food education programs and resources for children, parents, educators and health practitioners.

Put simply, we help people to relax around food.

We use rainbows of real food to spark imaginations, change behaviour and cultivate lifelong healthy eating habits. 

We make healthy eating simple and fun.

Our services

Kids Workshops

Think of us like a field trip of fun, flavourful, food education brought to you. We work with kids right in the settings where they’re learning and developing: schools, child care centres, camps, health care centres and community organizations.

SPEAKING 

Janet Nezon is a highly experienced and charismatic speaker. She has a deep knowledge of both the evidence behind and the practicalities around supporting kids to develop lifelong healthy eating habits. 

Adult Workshops

We provide simple strategies; practical tips and tools to inspire and enable adults to create healthy food environments for kids in their care. We help adults to feel confident in dealing with common food and feeding issues and challenges.

Consulting 

Does your organization need support with food? We dig any opportunity to collaborate and share our approach with other like-minded people. Get in touch and we'll roll up our sleeves to help you figure it out.

show more & tell less

Check out our videos on the Rainbow Plate Youtube Channel.

 
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Our Approach


We don't preach nutrition.

We don't tell them it's good for them.

We just have fun.

 

Our Approach


We don't preach nutrition.

We don't tell them it's good for them.

We just have fun.

 

Rainbow Plate’s approach is inspiring and pragmatic. Janet has the ability to connect and engage people of all walks of life on one of the most pressing issues of our time, food. We at Fresh City admire what she does and how she does it.
— Ran Goel (Co-Founder, Fresh City Farms)
  • Meet people where they are at: We all have our own reality and comfort zone when it comes to food and eating, and that’s the best place to start. We're here for you, offering you a nudge or a little dose of inspiration.
  • Expose and explore, don’t preach: Repeated exposure and sensory exploration are the most effective strategies for engaging kids and changing their behaviour around food. Preaching rules and nutrition facts is boring and doesn’t work. Getting kids up close and hands-on with real food sparks interest and enthusiasm for developing their own healthy habits.
  • Step away from the microscope: We eat food, not nutrients. All the experts agree that a dietary pattern based on whole foods is the best for nourishing a healthy body. Helping kids to embrace and enjoy real food instead of processed food products is the key to a healthier future. Kids need to learn where food comes from, and how to cook and enjoy it in the company of friends and family.

  • Relax and kids will too: If adults chill out around food then kids will too. Adults are the most important influence on a child‘s eating behavior. Eating in a relaxed and positive environment allows a child’s healthy relationship with food to flourish.
  • Tell me the colours that you ate: Rainbows are simple, healthy and powerful. Adding a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit to everything you eat is the simplest way to fuel your body well and make any plate of food more appealing.
  • Food connects everything: What and how we eat is woven into every element of the world around us. For maximum impact, food education should reflect and address the health, family, community, geographic, cultural, environmental, and economic context in which we eat and live.
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The Science Behind Rainbow Plate


Why do we need food education?

The Science Behind Rainbow Plate


Why do we need food education?

The feeding dynamic between caregivers and their toddlers as a factor in childhood obesity is truly underestimated. We’re finding that if mealtime becomes a battleground or filled with tension, it could establish a relationship with food that leads kids to unhealthy eating behaviours later.
— Ihumoma Eneli, MD (Centre For Healthy Weight & Nutrition, Nationwide Children's Hospital)

Why Food Education?

For the first time in recorded history, this generation of children is projected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. That's scary. The story of how we got here is complex, but one thing that's clear is that our relationship with food has a major impact on our health and well being. 

  • Statistics Canada reported in 2012 that 31% of Canadian children were overweight or obese. The subsequent health risks and healthcare costs arising from poor eating habits during childhood and adolescence underscore the need to counteract the problem with nutrition education.

  • 7 out of 10 children in Canada eat fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

  • Children's eating habits form during preschool years, where there is little food education or support for the adults caring for them.

Life skills like reading and writing are musts. Today, the experts also agree that teaching our children how to eat well is just as vital for creating a healthy future. Inviting kids to get hands-on, exploring fresh, real food in a relaxed and positive setting has been proven to increase the likelihood that they will eat these foods in the future. We believe that this is the best way to promote lifelong healthy eating habits!

Since launching in 2012, Rainbow Plate has been focused on food literacy education in a wide variety of settings.  Our sensory-based food education programs have reached thousands of children and adults in schools, camps, child care, health care and community settings.

Our evidence-based approach has been designed for children, parents, educators and health practitioners to achieve these outcomes:

  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that children actually eat!

  • Create a positive shift in children’s relationship with food

  • Encourage kids to take responsibility for their own daily choices; to become their own healthy habit heroes

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Our Impact


Our Impact


Every kid in every school no matter their
background, deserves to learn the basics
about food - where it comes from, how
to cook it and how it affects their bodies.
These life skills are as important as reading
and writing, but they’ve been lost over the
past few generations. We need to bring
them back and bring up our kids to be
streetwise about food.
— Jamie Oliver, CHEF AND ACTIVIST

Rainbows of real food are magic!

We recently completed a quantitative research project with Ryerson University, which measured the impact of our program on children's behaviour. The study showed a clear & statistically significant impact:  after participating in Rainbow Plate workshops, kids ate more fruits and vegetables, and were more willing to try new foods! The study has been submitted for publication - check back here for updates!

Since launching in 2012, Rainbow Plate has worked with over 15,000 kids, parents, educators and health practitioners to achieve the following feats!

  • More than 6000 lbs of red cabbage (not an easy vegetable to get kids to eat) have been marveled at and munched on.

  • We have delivered hundreds of hands-on workshops in schools, camps, child care and community organizations in the GTA.

  • After participating in a Rainbow Plate workshop, 80% of kids consistently report that they tried a new fruit or vegetable (yippee!)

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Rainbow Press


Rainbow Press