Having worked as a Teacher and children's performer for over two decades, along with delivering evidence-based Health curriculum support to schools since 2011, it's important for me to have a classroom with happy healthy kids who are actively engaged in their learning! And part of my happy classroom is due to my kids' eating well while they're at school.
Numerous studies show that diets with high levels of saturated fats and glucose actually impair learning and memory, which as Teachers, is what we often see in kids' lunchboxes, processed packaged treats, high in sugar, salt, fat, and the rest!
It's as simple as this - kids need to eat well to perform their best at school.
When it comes to teaching my students about Food and Nutrition, it's something I teach throughout the year, not just as part of the Health Curriculum, but ongoing, to support children's health and wellbeing and optimise their learning outcomes.
I always start with the Five ‘Everyday’ Food groups - fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy, as it's important that children understand that together these five food groups provide essential nutrients that their bodies need to grow, stay strong and healthy.
Today, Jess and Serena, our Team's Nutrition and Health Specialists, share five tips to speak to children about the five everyday food groups.
1. Start small
Introduce one food group at the time. Try creating a classroom ‘Five Everyday Food Groups’ poster, by cutting out pictures from a supermarket catalogue and encourage children to sort foods into the correct food groups.
Register here to access your complimentary Eat Smart B Active® - 5 'Everyday' Food Groups Nutrition Poster from the Eat Smart B Active® online program to display in your classroom as a visual aid to support your students' knowledge and understanding.
2. Give children an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge
Encourage children to design a lunchbox which includes the five everyday food groups. This provides them with the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a meaningful way. Children can also be encouraged to pack a lunch box with the five ‘everyday’ food groups.
Of course, Teachers are powerful role models. Try modelling your own lunchbox which includes the five ‘everyday’ food groups to foster healthy eating behaviours in your classroom.
3. Make it into a fun game - "Eat the Rainbow"
Kids love to play games. 'Eat the Rainbow' is a fun game to prompt children to connect the colours of food items in the everyday food groups to make up a rainbow, demonstrating that nutrition education is fun, while also allowing them to visualise the benefits of having a colourful, healthy, balanced diet.
3. Play Music in Your Classroom
Include movement breaks in your classroom, with fun songs that encourage physical activity.
4. Read health literacy resources
Books like ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘I am a Superhero - Fruit & Veg’ are valuable teaching resources to raise the idea of ‘everyday’ foods, and provide opportunities for classroom discussion about how and why ‘everyday’ foods are good for the brain and body.
Creating fun around the five everyday Food Groups helps create an enjoyable learning experience and positive associations of healthy eating.
For more great help register here for VIP access to our complimentary resources from the evidence-based Eat Smart B Active® program to support you in the delivery of the Health Curriculum and optimise your students' learning - Includes Videos, Songs, Interactive Quiz questions, Worksheets and Printable resources.
Wishing you every success in the classroom.
Selina - BA (Psych) DipEd
Co-Founder | Educator
Jess (BHSc) and Serena (BHSc)
Bush, R., Capra, S., Box, S., McCallum, D., Khalil, S., & Ostini, R. (2018). An Integrated Theatre Production for School Nutrition Promotion Program. Children, 5(3), 35. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/5/3/35
Savage, J. S., Fisher, J. O., & Birch, L. L. (2007). Parental influence on eating behavior: conception to adolescence. The Journal of law, medicine & ethics : a journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 35(1), 22–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-720X.2007.00111.x