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Rainbow Plate

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What is a Rainbow Plate?

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Whether you've been following us for a while or have just joined, we thought it might be a good idea to answer this question!

So, what is a Rainbow Plate? It’s simply any plate or dish of food that includes any fruit or vegetables in any colour! 

We want everyone to feel good about eating, and we’re on a mission to make healthier eating simple and fun! We wanted to make it clear that there’s no “right” amount, type or colours of fruits and vegetables required to make your plate a Rainbow Plate. The idea is to look for and celebrate however many colours you’re eating, and to find a simple way to help everyone add more of these yummy and healthy foods to their plates every day!

 A Rainbow Plate might look like the one above, with lots of different foods in a whole rainbow of different colours. But, a Rainbow Plate might also be a plate like this one:

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with one or two colourful veggies or fruit included as part of a simple meal or snack. They’re both equally awesome! 

We know that everyone’s plate looks different. What ends up on our plate is influenced by so many different things, including: where we live, our budget, our culture, the seasons, our personal preferences, and our family’s traditions. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit every day is a guideline that’s widely recommended and proven to be good for your health at any age.  Creating a Rainbow Plate every time you eat is a simple and fun way to do it! We use this rhyme in our work to help inspire and and remind kids to embrace this idea:

“Rainbow Plate, Rainbow Plate, tell me the COLOURS that you ate!”

We’d love to see YOUR Rainbow Plate! As you prepare your meals or snacks, think about how to add a bit more colour to your plate. Keep it simple - think about what’s in season or what fruits and veggies are on sale this week where you shop.  Frozen or canned produce is great too, just stick to items without added sugar or salt.

Post a photo of your Rainbow Plate on your Instagram or Facebook page with the hashtag #myrainbowplate. Don’t forget to tag us @rainbowplate! Tag a friend who would love to add more colour to their meals too!




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Exciting news!! We're extending the Rainbow's reach!

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Exciting news!! We're extending the Rainbow's reach!

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 hello@rainbowplate.com and we'll put you on the list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Because It's Good

Isn’t that enough? Think about it. You’re standing in the kitchen, hankering for a meal or snack. Why do you choose to eat what you do?  

Because it’s good.

Because you like it.

Because it appeals to you.

Because it’s easy and it’s available.  

Let’s face it.  We eat what we like, and we like what we know. Most of us tend to eat the same foods pretty regularly. The ones we’re comfortable with, and the ones that we enjoy because they’re delicious, easy and familiar.

So why are we spending all this energy trying to convince kids to eat certain foods because they’re healthy? We sing and dance, and tell kids that veggies are full of vitamins and minerals (what are those anyways??) We tell them they’ll grow up big and strong if they eat this or that (does a 5 year old really care?) We tell them that they can have a cookie if they finish their greens.  It’s no wonder kids turn up their noses at that plate full of broccoli - most of them can smell a sales pitch a mile away.  You know how it feels when you’re being “pitched” - your guard goes up and you’re naturally skeptical about the product. Flat-out pitching often backfires, and it’s no different for your kids.

So relax.

Cook up and serve that broccoli (try this recipe for an irresistible twist.) Put it on the table with dinner, and don’t say a word.  Just eat it and enjoy it.

Because it’s good.

See what happens.

 

 

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The Joy

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Thank you Julie.

Your two simple words brought me to a screeching halt. I looked down at what you wrote on my feedback form, and a soul-warming smile spread through me. I asked you to share what you thought was the best part of the Rainbow Plate workshop I’d just conducted at your school, and you simply wrote, “The Joy!”  

Thank you for telling me that my message is coming through loud and clear.

Thank you for validating what matters most in the work that I do and the way that I do it.

Thank you for bringing me back to why I started this journey in the first place: to inspire a joyful connection between people and food, and to commit myself to work that I am truly proud of.

Thank you for helping me see that following my heart and my passion is making a difference to others.

Thank you for inspiring me to keep at it, because it matters. 

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