CHILDREN AND NUTRITION by Tricia Smith
A main faucet of healthy development in children is their nutrition. I believe that it is very important to include food education for all students from K-12. Growing up, I was taught that your health is your wealth. With that said, children need to learn from a young age how to eat healthy and make the right food choices. One such way to reinforce and teach this is through schools. According to OHEA (2020 ), there should be food and nutrition programs in schools, as early as grade 1, to engage children and youth in food literacy. I believe that such an initiative will help to lessen the onset of several factors such diabetes and childhood obesity.
Most importantly, food literacy will significantly enable children to learn better as they will be nourished from healthy food. While in high school, I remember a former teacher of mine would always tell the children that she sees eating snacks or other forms of unhealthy food for lunch that “bag juice and cheese trix don’t build brains.” We would always laugh at that expression as we enjoyed eating those unhealthy treats.
Additionally, we need to understand that children learn best when they are actively engaged in experiential education. Therefore, as a family, we can provide them with various real-life practical examples of how to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods. When children are given practical examples and engage in practical activities, for example, learn how their food is grown, raised, or produced, how to be good stewards of the land preserving and sustaining the environment and how to prepare and use food for healthy lifestyles, they are more appreciative of healthy eating.
As an adult, I have seen where too many small children are fed fast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is simply unacceptable as children need to be properly nourished to learn effectively. This is further supported by OHEA (2020) that providing healthy and culturally appropriate food in school programs and teaching about growing, selecting, preparing, eating, and valuing food can play a critical role in promoting health and wellness.
You are what you eat. Talk with one of our Family Studies Specialist Educators about keeping your family healthy by preparing nutritious meals.