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Teaching Kids about Carbs

Whether you homeschool or not, good nutrition should be taught at home.   News flash: Your school may not be teaching it. 

What to teach:

Carbohydrates are essential for energy!  Without carbohydrates, you would be too tired to walk, play, ride bikes, do your chores, or even tease your siblings.  Take magazines, grocery circulars, food packages, or simply word strips and categorize the two types of carbohydrates.  Explain the difference between simple and complex carbs  and see if they can categorize them themselves.

  1. Simple Carbohydrates (usually refined in some way and packaged for us) Candy, cake, white bread, white pasta, many refined cereals, juice, soda, corn syrup, table sugar.
  2. Complex carbohydrates. (Usually natural or very little refining) Vegetables, whole grain bread, brown rice, legumes, oatmeal.

Activity:  Make a carbohydrate chain.  Just like the paper chains you make to count down Christmas, cut strips of construction paper to represent sugar molecules.  A Simple carbohydrate will have only one or two saccharides (or sugar molecules).   Some simple carbohydrates become that way because someone in a food processing plant already took apart the chain for you so your body doesn't have to do it.  Complex Carbohydrates will have many saccharides. These foods come straight from the ground and take longer to take apart cause your body does all the work...which is a good thing.  They can make a very long chain to represent a complex carbohydrate.

Lesson:  So which chain will give you more energy?  Easy, the complex carbs with its long chain can last longer in your body.  Break off chains one by one slowly to represent little bursts of energy to you, as opposed to one chain, one burst of energy and then you are hungry again.

Orzo Pasta soupThis is what we made last night. Although at first sight, flip-flopper was nervous, but everyone LOVED it.



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02/05/2009 9:04am
A good reminder that whether you homeschool or not, nutrition education is important at home!
02/05/2009 9:18am
What a cute idea! Thanx for sharing!
02/05/2009 10:25am
Did you really put parsnips in the soup? I've always wanted to try those; they just sound like something out of Peter Rabbit books. It really is amazing how much kids can understand. I love your chain idea. Do you have any cute ideas to convince kids to shower every day? Is there a chain for that?
02/05/2009 10:26am
What a terrific site you have here! Thanks so much for linking my soup, glad to hear your kids enjoyed it. My kids gave me a hard time at first too. Little stinkers!
02/05/2009 1:14pm
Very informative! Great picture too!

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