Teachers share stories about simple ways they inspire students to eat healthier by bringing food into the classroom when they teach nutrition.
Every year, BC Dairy Association awards teachers with mini food grants to be used for purchasing food to enhance nutrition education efforts in the classroom. It’s wonderful to see how teachers find simple yet creative ways to inspire students to develop healthier eating habits. Below, a few teachers share their success stories:
From Picky Eating to Healthy Eating (Grade 1)
“We were so thrilled to receive our food grant last year. It provided us with many extra opportunities to try a variety of foods. We made pumpkin pancakes, cheese sand”witches”, mini pizzas, Chinese fried rice, pink fruit smoothies, salmon dip and crackers, oatmeal bread (with wheat we ground ourselves) and homemade butter, and yogurt popsicles. We also did an apple taste test and sampled different [varieties]. The children became more adventurous and curious about trying new foods, and some of them discovered that [a previously] disliked food was ‘not so bad, I like it now!’ Thank you so much for enriching our program so wonderfully.”
– Glenna (Grade 1 teacher, Kamloops)
Positive Peer Pressure with Pizza (Grade 3)
My class had a wonderful and educational time exploring healthy eating. The three things we made with our grant were hummus, smoothies and pizzas. The highlight for the class was making pizza. It was really nice to see some students try different toppings on their pizza that they hadn’t had before. Watching their friends choose different toppings gave them some confidence to explore other options.
– Dawna (Grade 3 teacher, Burnaby)
Healthy Eating: From School to Home (Grade 5)
“ [The mini food grant] is a wonderful way to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to be proactive about their health and eating habits! We learned a great deal about what was lacking from recording our 3-day diet and found students were struggling with introducing more fruit and vegetables. We had an afternoon of fun experimenting, preparing, and sampling a variety of fruits and vegetables! Students were amazed at the vibrant colours and textures fruit and vegetable[s] offer. We compared the flavours and formed opinions about different types of apples.
“These activities allowed students the opportunity to make informed and educated choices when selecting and purchasing their food. Parents were also influenced by their child’s learning, and reported a change in their habits at home too, now making wiser choices to include a variety of food groups to balance their meals and meet their daily nutritional needs. “I look forward to continuing to implement your Food Sense Program into our Health and Career Planning curriculum. I also hope to participate in your grant [program] again next year.”
– Angela (Grade5-6 teacher, Burnaby)
Healthy Snacks, Healthy Drinks: Grade 7-8 students get creative
“I am passionate about promoting healthy eating as it is important for the students to see real food they can relate to and speak about in their home… “I used part of the grant as we learned about Healthy Living. The students were asked to complete a number of activities from the BC Dairy workshop I attended. As we discussed the resource materials ‘How Well Do You Think You Eat?’ and ‘Thirst for Nutrition‘ it became evident that we needed to eat healthier after school as this is when sugary snacks were in demand.
“I devised a healthy snack assignment and each student had to submit a healthy drink or food that could easily be made by foods they had at home, in their fridge and/or food cupboards. They researched and came up with some very practical, tasty and nutritious foods. Each week the students chose one of the healthy snacks and we created it in the classroom. The students could see first-hand how easy it was to make and this led to a discussion about thrifty shopping. The students absolutely loved this weekly activity and discussions grew about the healthy snacks they were creating at home after school.
“The students placed all the snack recipes with their ‘Better Together Cookbook’ they created into a resource they can use at home for themselves and their families. What a fantastic way to pass on healthy living concepts between the home and school community!
“Thanks to your grant my students had the opportunity to plan and use their creativity to take a curriculum topic and make it become a daily reality. This hands-on approach creates a richer classroom experience, an atmosphere of deeper understanding, and provides meaningful learning for all the students. The students will never forget the experiences which helped them make lasting connections to their curriculum topics.”
– Lyn (Grade 7-8 teacher, Mission)
Learn more about how teachers can use food as a powerful nutrition education tool or contact a dietitian/nutrition educator to find out more about nutrition education at firstname.lastname@example.org.