Is your school looking for ways to enhance your nutrition education efforts? Consider celebrating National Nutrition Month during March! This annual observance is a campaign led by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help people develop healthy eating and physical activity habits.
While schools should teach nutrition education throughout the year, use March to dedicate extra time and attention to nutrition. It’s a great time to extend nutrition beyond the classroom and cafeteria into the garden, hallways and at home. Check out our favorite ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month:
Teach nutrition education. MyPlate offers a free, sequential curriculum for Grades 1-6, as well as supplemental resources to complement your school’s existing health education curriculum.
Meet with your school nutrition staff to determine how the month can be celebrated in and out of the school cafeteria.
Choose one healthy eating or physical activity concept to promote each week during March. Display signage throughout your school, teach nutrition education lessons in the classroom and include messages during morning announcements. For example:
Week 4 – Be physically active for 60 minutes a day.
In the cafeteria, highlight a healthy item every day during the month. Share facts, nutrition benefits and healthy dishes that include this food through flyers, posters, table tents and in other communications.
Host a taste test. A taste test is a great way to garner enthusiasm around trying new foods together.
Hold a school-wide campaign to encourage students to eat breakfast. It activates our brains, gives us energy and makes us alert. Eating a healthy, well- balanced breakfast also helps us continue making good choices throughout the day.
Is time too limited to teach nutrition education on top of required lessons? Try incorporating nutrition information into core subject lessons like Math, Language Arts and Science.
Promote nutrition through existing communication channels such as the school website and social media, school newsletters and morning announcements.
Have volunteers assist with the planning and organization of a health and wellness fair. Volunteers can recruit local businesses to participate, assist with logistics and help set-up/tear down/supervise on the day of the event.
Recruit a local dietitian to give a special school-wide presentation to educate, support and celebrate National Nutrition Month.
Recruit a creative volunteer to design signage with healthy messages to hang up in your school to celebrate and educate.
Use social media as a tool to engage students and families in sharing how they eat healthy and stay active together.
Nutrition education is especially important for kids, as they establish food patterns that carry into adulthood. Teaching students about MyPlate and the benefits of each food group can help promote healthy eating from a young age.
Take a look around your school building. How does your school promote good nutrition? Nutrition promotion can take place across the school, formally and informally, inside and outside of the classroom ─ in the cafeteria, in the hallway and at school events.