Nutrition Education - Action for Healthy Kids
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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.

Social Emotional Health Highlights

Activities such as these help students explore…

Self-Awareness: Lessons about optimal nutrition teaches children the importance of taking ownership of their own health. Encourage students to think about how they feel physically and mentally depending on the foods they eat. Exploring the mind-body connection leads to students’ greater self-awareness and skills to make better choices to nourish their bodies and help them feel their best.

Social Awareness: Nutrition education serves as an opportunity to teach children about food and the relation to culture and family heritage. Discussing culinary variances across cultures helps expose children to different foods and traditional practices, increasing their understanding and appreciation for diversity.

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.

For more activities and ideas like this one, be sure to sign up for our news and updates. And if you like what you see, please donate to support our work creating more ways to help build a healthier future for kids.

For more activities and ideas like this one, be sure to sign up for our news and updates. And if you like what you see, please donate to support our work creating more ways to help build a healthier future for kids.