How many others find planning two meals a day taxing? The weekends used to be tough enough but now having to do it every day, on top of monitor schoolwork and doing my own work, is just exhausting. In talking with my kids, we (and by “we” I mean “I”) have decided to change how we do lunch. Every Friday, my kids will be putting together the lunch menu for the following week.
How to Start: On Friday, plan a sit-down meeting with your child/children to discuss next week’s menu. Explain to them that they will be responsible for determining the lunch menu for the entire week.
What to do next: Establish the rules. That’s right, this isn’t a free-for-all. They don’t get to choose just anything for lunch. If you have younger kids, you can brainstorm the rules together. For older kids, make it a research project. In the “STEAM Resources” listed below, there are a couple links to use as a starting point for making healthy choices.
Once the rules are established map out the meals by day, including all necessary ingredients and a shopping list. And remember, they can be responsible for helping cook these meals also.
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
What’s so dynamic about this activity, is that you can expand it in so many directions. Below are a few examples. If anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to post!
- Science: Believe it or not, this activity encompasses all science content areas:
- Biology: How does the body process food (chewing, saliva, digestion)?
- Chemistry: How does the body breaks-down food? How do we taste?
- Physics: What are the simple machines in the human body. What are the simple and complex machines used by farmers?
- Earth science: Where is food grown: What type of soil is used and why; why are farms located near water sources? Why do farmers have to remove rocks from their farms every year?
- Technology: What is remote sensing and why is it important to farmers? Do farmers use drones?
- Engineering: Can you design and build your own vegetable garden? What does a food engineer do?
- Arts: Learn about the art of cooking. Why are certain foods frequently paired together?
- Math: How do you double/half a recipe? What are the different units of measure for volume/temperature, and how can you convert between them?
- Food choices:
- USDA choose my plate app for healthier food choices: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
- Harvard School of Public Health has a similar resource on healthy choices: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate/
- NSTA eBook on nutrition: https://my.nsta.org/ebook/104818/nutrition-student-edition
- A very cute game teaching about simple machines from the Museum of Science and Industry: https://www.msichicago.org/science-at-home/games/simple-machines
- Nat Geo Kids tutorial on digestion: https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/science/general-science/your-digestive-system/
- Piece together and learn about remote sensing images from NASA: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/spuzzled/en/#
- Conversion calculations from sciencing.com: https://sciencing.com/calculate-cost-per-pound-7595889.html
- Instructions on how to build a vegetable caddy from Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-make-a-veggie-caddy/9ba683603be9fa5395fab9087dfc405