Erika and Molly at our recent focus group

Erika and Molly at our recent focus group

I'm thrilled to share news about a recent collaboration between Rainbow Plate and the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. This will enable our proven approach to be incorporated by educators and parents everywhere; to engage and inspire many more children to eat fabulous fruits and veggies! The article below was written by Monica Gallant, a recent MSc graduate (pictured above, on the right), who was the recipient of a Special Project Grant from the AFI. We've been working together with Monica and Guelph Nutrition student Erika Pateman (pictured on the left) on this exciting project for the past several months:

Did you know that what you eat is one of the most significant influences on your health for life? If you’re a parent or caregiver of young kids, this means that you have an important job:  to nourish little bodies, and to lay the foundation for a healthy future. Children’s eating habits and food preferences form early on.  They can be firmly entrenched by age five or six! So, how do we inspire and encourage children to eat and enjoy those foods that will make them healthy and strong? Enter Rainbow Plate. 

Rainbow Plate is a social enterprise that creates and delivers evidence-based, interactive food education programs for children, parents, educators and health practitioners.  Their joyful, sensory-based approach steers away from nutrition lectures (which don’t work!) and uses rainbows of real food to spark children’s imaginations, change behaviour and cultivate lifelong healthy eating habits. In short, they encourage people to relax around food, and they make healthy eating simple and fun!

While Rainbow Plate programs have directly reached thousands of children around the Greater Toronto Area since launching in 2012, the founder, Janet Nezon, realized that there was a need to make this simple and impactful approach available to a wider audience.  She recognized that there were few practical resources available for preschool educators, parents and daycare providers working with children in this critical age and stage of development. In collaboration with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, Rainbow Plate is on a mission to bring the Rainbow Plate approach to food education to more preschool-age children across Canada by developing a new Rainbow Plate Resource and Toolkit.

This toolkit translates Rainbow Plate’s core principles and proven, innovative approach into key educational tools and compact, single-page activity sheets. Supported by sensory exploration tips and fun facts, these activities are designed to make food literacy education simple to implement and engaging for children and adults alike. Easily adaptable to any classroom or home environment, it is our goal that the activities provided in this resource will make healthy eating simple, colourful and fun!

The toolkit is currently in the testing phase and is expected to launch later this year.

Want to be first in line for updates and the launch of this great resource? Email and we'll put you on the list!