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Nutrition Education

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Overview

Adult passing out fruit to kidsWhy do I have to eat my broccoli? Why do I have to take milk with my lunch? You’ve probably heard these questions before. Kids are curious, and teaching them about nutrition can explain why we serve healthy meals at school and encourage them to choose healthy snacks.

Take Action

  1. Have your school join Team Nutrition for free resources from the USDA.
  2. Provide nutrition education during ancillary periods such as art, music and library to ensure all students receive similar messages.
  3. Connect your nutrition lesson to what is being served in the cafeteria that day as a way to encourage kids to try new, healthy foods.
  4. Designate a school-level nutrition education champion to help each grade level create a nutrition education scope and sequence.

Tips

Whenever teaching nutrition, make sure the content is age-appropriate and culturally sensitive.

Use meal times, such as school breakfast, snacks or lunch, to teach students about healthy options.

Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

Consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Eating whole fruits is best, but drink 100% juice when choosing fruit juice.

Make at least half of your grains whole grains.

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) dairy.

Consume 3 servings of dairy each day.

Teach through online nutrition games. When students have free computer time, provide specific links where they can learn about nutrition.

Offer nutrition education in a systematic way (i.e. monthly, weekly, as a unit) as opposed to one-time or occasional lessons to help kids internalize the information.

Invite local experts such as dietitians to teach a lesson on portion sizes or shopping on a budget.

Recruit a local chef to teach kids about seasonal, local foods.

Include a nutrition-focused worksheet or tip sheet in every parent newsletter that is sent home.

Does your classroom have centers or stations? Include nutrition education activity sheets as part of one of a center or as something students can do after they complete their work.

Integrate nutrition education into math and literacy. For example, select books with a nutrition focus or graph the number of fruits students ate the previous day.

Host a taste test to allow students to sample the foods they learn about in class.

Join the Chefs Move to Schools initiative to bring local chefs to your school to teach kids about healthy eating and local food.

Teach students how to read a food label so they have the skills to make healthy choices at the grocery store and at home.