Teachers share how they used food in the classroom to enhance nutrition education.
Every year, BC Dairy Association awards teachers with mini food grants to purchase food for enhancing 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. Despite teachers using readily available and common foods, many students are trying these foods for the first time in the classroom! In September 2015, we gave away 120 mini food grants to teachers in BC.
Below, teachers share their success stories:
Kindergarteners at Harry Hooge Elementary in Maple Ridge enjoy Food Explorers lessons:
“It never ceases to amaze me how many children have never tried different kinds of berries [or] yogurt, have never seen how rice is harvested, or [have] asked for seconds when we made fruit parfaits and zucchini crisps … The Children and I have had a great year food exploring.”
Students at RL Clemitson School in Kamloops become more adventurous eaters:
“Hands-on experiences with cooking are certainly the best way to teach nutrition. It was so exciting to watch one of my students, who spent the entire morning that we cooked saying, ‘I don’t like ….’ or ‘I’m not eating …’ He watched as the other students all tried it and liked it. Then he decided to try a bite. He ate three helpings and went home saying, ‘I love ….’ After several cooking days, he learned to try the food first before venturing an opinion. This year we had an apple taste test and chose our favourite. We cooked pumpkin pancakes, fish nuggets, spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, Chinese fried rice, strawberry smoothies, bread (from wheat we ground) and butter (homemade), egg pita pockets, and yogurt popsicles. Thank you for the opportunity to cook with my children.”
A grade 2/3 class in Terrace used their mini food grant to have a balanced breakfast together:
“We used our 2014/2015 food grant by preparing a balanced breakfast in our school kitchen. We made a fruit salad (apples, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries) and pancakes from scratch. We also had sausages and milk. The students took part in the food preparation, cooking, serving and cleanup. We shared our leftover fruit salad with the other classes in the school.”
In Nelson, a grade 6/7 class takes their Food Sense lessons beyond the classroom:
“There is nothing like the authentic experience of hands-on learning in the kitchen. Kids were able to explore their tastes and food choices [and] discover new food experiences they can share with their families and introduce into the home.”
Learn more about how teachers can use food as a powerful nutrition education tool here. Or, contact a dietitian/nutrition educator to find out more about nutrition education at email@example.com.