Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fabulous Food Photo Cards!

I went to a garage sale over the weekend and found the most fabulous thing 50 cents has ever bought in the whole history of garage sales: a bag of food photo cards!

The food cards were from a nutrition education kit which I left behind for some other lucky shopper because I only wanted these fantastic pictures. Unfortunately, I realize now that I can't even tell you the name of the company that produced these cards because there is no identifying information anywhere on them.

Max was just as thrilled as I was with these cards. We sat on the floor and went through almost all of them, playing "The Food Game." I held them up one at a time and quizzed him, and he said or signed the ones he knew, and then we practiced the ones he didn't know. Some of the foods were a bit obscure, so we skipped those. The vast majority, though, were readily identifiable and familiar.

A couple of his classifications were especially interesting to me. He said this one...

...was "pie." It certainly is round like a pie, and it is divided into pie-shaped wedges, so I understand why he called it that. (But it still surprised me! Sometimes I catch a little glimpse into the inner workings of his mind like this, and it never ceases to fascinate me.) Max has had grapefruit before, but I guess I've always scooped the sections into a bowl for him and he didn't recognize it. I told him what it was, and the next day he pointed to the picture and said, "fruit."

These four photos are especially helpful, too...

...because they are all things he eats regularly at school, but we never have at home. He loves to tell me he had milk at school, but rarely wants to drink milk at home; apparently the little cartons make a world of difference! And the canned fruits -- especially the fruit cocktail -- look (and feel!) completely different from their fresh versions, so the pictures were a wonderful link to talking about things he eats at school.

The cards also helped him link some specific foods to two of his favorite TV shows. Celery is another food we don't eat very often in its pictured version. We chop it up for salads or cook with it, but seldom eat raw stalks (too stringy & gaggy). Max didn't know what it was -- or at least, didn't have a way to communicate that he did -- but he tried to repeat the word after me. I reminded him that the WonderPets eat it at the end of every episode, and I could tell he was processing that information as we went on to the next card. Suddenly, his eyes lit up and he pointed at the blank TV and started saying & doing his sign for WonderPets and I knew he had made the connection.

(He keeps saying "Blue's Clues" about the chicken picture, though I'm not sure what the connection is yet. I'm going to have to investigate, because he clearly wants to tell me something about it.)

I've searched a bit online so that I can provide a link for this food card set, but I haven't found a match yet. Each photo is life-size and very realistic, laser cut to the shape of the food itself. There is a single tab on each food card, listing the name and serving size, and the back side of each card lists the full nutritional analysis and food group(s) it belongs to. There are about 180 cards in the set. Does anybody out there know the company link or purchasing information for these cards?

In the meantime, here is another realistic food card set that looks like a good alternative and is readily available.

The same company offers this set, which uses the more traditional PECS type of cards:
PCS Learning Magnets - Food Words

The size and similarity to most speech output device buttons makes them useful, of course, but I think the magnetic backing makes them especially practical because they would be sturdier than paper cards and easy to stick on the fridge, right close to all the action. Perhaps that set will be our next exciting purchase.

And as long as I'm making product lists here, I've been drooling over this set:

Life/forms Food Replica Set

The realism is truly drool-worthy, isn't it? It's a high-dollar item, though, so will simply go on my list of things to watch for on ebay. (and garage sales!) Who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky again!


Anonymous said...

What a great find! These cards are put out by the National Dairy Association. They are pretty hard to find on their site and you have to contact them to actually order them. Plus, they don't list a price! is the link to the page they are on and the info for contacting the NDC. I also went to my state's Local Dairy Council (where I had to register!) and saw them in their catalog for $36.oo. I purchased these about 8 years ago when I was working in the school system. I think at that point they cost about $3.oo! I remember telling all my fellow SLP's about them and going on and on about the price, but no one seemed as impressed as me! :)

Penny L. Richards said...

WONDERFUL find! See, and I was thinking "what kind of art project will she use those for?" Not remembering they might have non-crafty uses.... sigh. Great size, beautiful condition, and the photos are bright and appetizing. You scored.

(I walked past a couple garage sales yesterday--thought I found a jackpot when there was a whole table of fabulous church-lady hats, but they were all too small for me.)

CAPTCHA: "uncestio" --sounds nasty!

Jujyfruit said...

Trinda - thanks for the info! Glad I only had to pay 50 cents instead of the $36 (yikes!)... but they really are of excellent quality and I would still recommend them for anyone who's in the market for something like this.

If they were still only $3 like they were 8 years ago when you found them, I'd be handing these things out as gifts left & right!! (That's some serious inflation, by the way...)

Jujyfruit said...

Penny - when I was searching on ebay for similar sets, there was a great retro 50's set with vintage photos. Now THAT one is screaming out for some craftiness! (Go see!) I haven't come up with a worthy idea that would justify purchasing yet, but I bet YOU could...

(Btw, I think "uncestio" is also rather Harry Potter-ish. I'm going to go exclaim that over my kitchen floor and see if anything happens.)

Stephen said...

It's unique idea for choosing food photo cards... I recently got new photo cards from Vista Print...

lisa said...

Hi, the food cards you have are really old ones from the Dairy Council. I used them in nutritional analysis classes for years and then somehow lost my set. (maybe the ones that ended up in your garage sale! haha) There is an updated set available on the council's website @ that includes 153 cards for 20 bucks, but you have to wait 2 - 3 weeks for shipping. Thought I would pass it along anyway!