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A Fresh Approach To Food Education


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A Fresh Approach To Food Education


Imagine standing in front of a table full of real, fresh, vibrant food – an entire rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Kids reach out and touch, smell, feel, explore and taste 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 innovative and evidence-based food education programs and resources for educators, caregivers, families and health professionals.

Put simply, we help people to relax around food.

We use rainbows of real food and joyful sensory exploration to spark connections, inspire inquiry and foster food literacy. 

We make healthy eating simple and fun.

Our services

Kids Workshops

** As of January 2019 we have put a hold on delivering workshops directly to children**

We’re currently working to share our impactful, evidence and sensory-based approach with educators, nutrition and health professionals, speech and occupational therapists and any other adults who work to support children in cultivating a happy, healthy relationship with food and eating.

We’ve drawn upon our years of experience with more than 16,000 children to offer you the Rainbow Food Explorers Educator Toolkit and supportive workshops for educators, parents and practitioners who work with children. Contact us to order a toolkit or book an adult workshop! **

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 in developing lifelong healthy eating habits. She is a frequent speaker to groups of all sizes, at conferences and events in academic, corporate and community settings.

Adult Workshops

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

Consulting 

Does your organization need support with food? We love opportunities 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 lifelong health and well being. 

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

  • Eating behaviours and food preferences that develop at a young age can last throughout childhood and into the adult years. Food education in early childhood is an opportunity to lay the foundation for lifelong eating habits that build healthy bodies and prevent the development of diet-related diseases.

  • Food connects everything. Food education can also be the spark that inspires children to discover the connections between food and all the elements of their world.

Life skills like reading and writing are musts. 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. This the best way to promote lifelong healthy eating habits!

Rainbow plate’s programs result in children eating more vegetables and fruit - the evidence is in!

We recently completed a quantitative research project in collaboration with Ryerson University. This study has now been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. Spring 2019 Issue

Here’s the full article: EVALUATION OF A SENSORY-BASED FOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM ON FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONSUMPTION AMONG KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN

The study results - the bottom line:

  • The intervention significantly increased participants’ intention to eat fruit and vegetables with a mean difference of 75.17 grams (p < 0.001) . This was a 40% increase.

  • There was a significant pre- and post-intervention difference seen in fruit and vegetable consumption mean of 52.61 or 50%

The conclusions:

The Rainbow Food Heroes sensory-based food education program delivers a simple message using food exploration with colorful fruits and vegetables, multi-sensory interaction with food, along with visual and auditory learning. The results demonstrate effectiveness in children’s understanding and retention of the Rainbow Plate concept. In the short term, this program appears to have increased children’s intention to eat, as measured by self-served selection, and actual consumption of fruit and vegetables, thus helping kindergarten children make better food choices. Encouraging children to have fun exploring food can expand their food preferences and facilitate positive associations with a variety of healthy foods. Food education beginning in childhood may crucially contribute to sustainable healthy food habits that lead to better overall nutrition throughout the lifespan.

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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

Rainbow plate’s programs result in children eating more vegetables and fruit - the evidence is in!

We recently completed a quantitative research project in collaboration with Ryerson University. This study has now been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. Spring 2019 Issue

Here’s the full article: EVALUATION OF A SENSORY-BASED FOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM ON FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONSUMPTION AMONG KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN

The study results - the bottom line:

  • The intervention significantly increased participants’ intention to eat fruit and vegetables with a mean difference of 75.17 grams (p < 0.001) as shown in Table 3. This was a 40% increase.

  • There was a significant pre- and post-intervention difference seen in fruit and vegetable consumption mean of 52.61 or 50%

The conclusions:

The Rainbow Food Heroes sensory-based food education program delivers a simple message using food exploration with colorful fruits and vegetables, multi-sensory interaction with food, along with visual and auditory learning. The results demonstrate effectiveness in children’s understanding and retention of the Rainbow Plate concept. In the short term, this program appears to have increased children’s intention to eat, as measured by self-served selection, and actual consumption of fruit and vegetables, thus helping kindergarten children make better food choices. Encouraging children to have fun exploring food can expand their food preferences and facilitate positive associations with a variety of healthy foods. Food education beginning in childhood may crucially contribute to sustainable healthy food habits that lead to better overall nutrition throughout the lifespan.

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Rainbow Press


Rainbow Press