A few days ago, I told you about our newest unit study on stewardship. And at the end of that post, I told you we would be going on a field trip to the grocery store soon. And, yeah hooray, Friday was field trip day!!!
The day started out rainy and cold, and I almost changed my mind about taking the kids to town. But, my grandmother had already agreed to keep the 2 littlest ones while we went, so I didn't want to pass up that opportunity. I figured it would be easy enough in the rain with 2 older kids who knew how to walk and stay under an umbrella. So we went.
When we arrived at the grocery store, I gave out the instructions. I handed each of them a world map and a pencil, and I told them we would be labeling where different fruits and veggies were grown and from where they were shipped. But, we also had several other things I wanted them to learn. We headed inside ready to start school.
As soon as we walked in, I had the kids each pick up a sales paper. We opened it and talked about the things they had on sale this week. One thing we learned is that, just because the store has an item on sale, it doesn't mean it's something healthy.
The next stop was a display of several junk food items. We looked at each thing, and took a guess as to whether we thought it was a healthy food. We turned each item over and looked at the Nutrition Facts label. With each item that we picked up, we compared the health benefits. The kids learned how to completely read a nutrition label, which includes calories, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, protein, and vitamins and minerals. And, they learned what each of the items on that label does for their body. Noticing that each of the bags of chips, the flavored fruit drinks, and the Valentine's candy was NOT healthy and was full of sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium, we moved on to the dairy section hoping to find a better choice.
Both kids examined the labels for yogurt, sour cream, and Ranch dip, and they compared the health benefits of each. One thing that they learned at this point is that, even if something isn't full of bad things, it may still be lacking or void of good things. So instead of putting food in our bodies that has bad or no benefits, like the Ranch dip, we determined that the better choice would be the yogurt. On to the next section of the store.
We headed down the pasta aisle next on our field trip. The first thing we looked at was Kraft Mac and Cheese. The kids noted the amount of sodium in each serving. We talked about the fact that processed foods need sodium to preserve them, because they may sit on a shelf for quite awhile before being cooked. But, too much of that sodium is not good for your body. We went to the other side of the pasta aisle, and we examined the plain pasta noodles - bow tie, elbow, alphabet, and lots of other kinds. What they found out is that, by eliminating the added sauce packet from the mac and cheese, pasta has NO sodium and lots of other good benefits. So we could cook plain pasta and add whatever we wanted for a much healthier choice. Another thing we did with the pasta is compare the regular Kraft Mac and Cheese with the whole wheat Kraft Mac and Cheese. Britches found out that the whole wheat actually had more sodium and less protein than the plain. So, just because it says "whole wheat", and just because one part of the food is more healthy, it doesn't mean that, as a whole, it is better for you.
Next, we went to check out the variety of whole grains. The kids learned that there is much more to choose from than just whole wheat flour and brown rice.
We stepped across the aisle to the oils to check out what healthy fats are. It is amazing how many good, healthy oils there are to choose from. The kids compared the labels of walnut, almond, and sesame oil, and hazelnut, coconut, and olive oil. We talked about bad fats and good fats. Saturated and trans-fats are bad for us, and unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good. Pretty much all of the oils were about the same as far as oil went (even vegetable and canola oils), except for the coconut oil. It was loaded with saturated fats! So there again, just because something sounds healthy, you wouldn't want too much of that kind of fat in your body. We also talked about how animal fat is NOT the fat we want to put in our bodies! Thus, lard is OUT!
And last, we walked down the cereal aisle to see if the kids could each pick out a healthy cereal. No, cereal isn't the healthiest thing out there, but there are some that are better than others. And hey, they are VERY convenient! Little Man went straight for Kellogg's Special K Pecan and Cinnamon, because it has nuts (which are good for us) and cinnamon (which lowers blood sugars). Britches grabbed a box of Total Honey Clusters, because she said honey is good for you. So they compared. The Special K had less sodium and less of something else (can't remember what), but the Total had WAY more vitamins and minerals. We bought both, because they were both pretty healthy!
As we were heading home, I asked the kids what they learned from our field trip. Britches remembered that, just because it's on sale, it isn't always healthy. Little Man learned that marshmallows are NOTHING but sugar!!! They both learned how to read an entire nutrition label. And they learned that there is no one food that has every nutrient needed for good health. You need to eat a variety of foods to get everything your body needs. And we try to make the best choices possible, so we can be sure to be good stewards of the bodies God has given us. After all, if we don't eat healthy, we won't be in good shape to do the work in which God has called us. And we want to be ready for whatever He asks of us!
All in all, the field trip was a great success and lots of fun! In fact, I planned WAY more things to do than we had time for. Things still to be taught are price per ounce, price comparison, processed v/c fresh foods, cost of eating out v/c cooking at home, and so much more. And we never even had time to pull out our world maps. Another day!!