Teaching healthy nutrition

Teaching healthy nutrition in the classroom

This month we can look forward to nutrition and hydration week! From the 14th to the 21st of March, kids and parents alike can get to grips with good nutrition. The event started in 2012 and since then has brought a whole host of eureka moments for those involved!

All teachers will be aware of targets at school. They are everywhere. If you’re working with children, every single foundational skill they need to learn is detrimental to their growth. The problem is, how do you fit them all into 6 or 7 hours?

Don’t expend energy trying to carve out time to talk about nutrition. Being at school is a learning experience in itself, so why not use what you would teach generally, to your advantage? Being mindful about your own reactions to food can help you impart better nutritional habits in them.

Kids are visual. As a child, it might be truer to say that all five senses are in tune, much more than they would be for an adult! Showing them what healthy eating looks like is much easier than trying to instruct them on how to eat better. If they can see it and touch it, embracing positive attitudes towards healthy eating is just around the corner.

You can use any one of the healthy eating guidelines available online or even task your pupils with making their own. Quite a simple make-and-do project, they can use crayons, colouring pencils, and sugar paper to make their own rendition of healthy meals based on the guidelines. This simple task will help them recognise food types, colours, and can be used to teach basic spelling and syntax.

Annotation is boring. Why not embrace being active and tactile? Let them see real fruits and vegetables in class. Alongside the common ones, kumquats, quinces, and pomegranates are great for exploring texture and taste. Embrace games and activities that help them understand through their bodies how useful these foods are. Fruits and veggies for building strong bodies can have them stretching out on their tippy-toes! Likewise, the lean protein that gives them energy for running, can have them doing just that, in a food-based version of Simon Says.

Kids are impressionable. It is natural for adults and children to have hang-ups about food. But children can become picky eaters before they’ve even tried something! So, you’ve got to be mindful about how you portray food in class. Maybe you’re reading Baby goes to the Market or Eating the Alphabet with your class. Your best bet is to avoid calling any foods good or bad, and be mindful of your facial expressions when you’re talking about food. Nutrition is all about being informed about good choices. Just like anything, all food is best in moderation.

Using the traffic light system for food can put children in the right frame of mind. Instead of telling children to stay away from sugary foods all together. Label the foods instead with the words “go”, “slow” and “whoa”. Take chips, for example, they don’t need to be off-limits, but with a label of “slow”, they can be something children remember to be mindful about at mealtimes.

Kids are active. Kids are little bundles of energy and learning about nutrition doesn’t need to be something they learn at their desks. We offer a range of health and wellbeing sessions that allow children to use their energy proactively.

Our health and wellbeing support has been designed with children in mind. They support their development through stimulating activities that can help them relax, focus, and strengthen their resilience. Our talented coaches can deliver our 6-week AIM programme to provide your pupils with the best wellbeing support, ensuring children remain:

  • Active – Physically and Mentally
  • Informed – through education to make good choices about nutrition and diet
  • Motivated – through Recognition and Achievement

Join us for Nutrition and Hydration week and bring life-long health to your school!

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