Healthy eating is something that should be instilled in children from a young age, and not just at home but in schools too. The school environment has the ability to educate children on the importance of eating well and the positive effects of this on health and wellbeing.
We have explored some of the best activities in and out of the classroom when it comes to teaching children about different food groups, how it can be sourced and how this affects day-to-day living.
- Vegetable plot
Creating a vegetable plot on the school grounds is a great way for children to learn about the important journey that fruit and veg should go through before ending up on the plate. By getting involved in the maintenance and care for the plot, children can appreciate the value of organic vegetables and the pleasure that comes from growing their own healthy and tasty food.
- bake and sell
Seeing as schools get involved in a lot of fundraising activities and events such as fetes, a great way to encourage healthy eating is to ask the children to bake goods with carefully-chosen ingredients that represent healthier options. For example, rather than having a cake stand, you could have a smoothie stand instead.
- food festival
To really highlight the benefits of healthy eating, a food festival should be a regular event on the school calendar. A festival provides an abundance of opportunities to educate one another about healthy food choices. From guest speakers, cooking stations and artwork, to food stalls, videos and performances, there are so many creative ways to share these messages.
- Farm visit
As with a vegetable plot, the best way to understand the importance of food is for children to get closer to it. A perfect opportunity for this is to organise a group farm visit. This has the potential to teach children about crops, meat, and dairy to name but a few foods, and also demonstrates the importance of local produce. Many farmers welcome school groups to visit, as it enables them to spread the word about sustainable produce.
- cooking club
Aside from curricular food tech classes, an after school cookery class is a great way to bring groups of children together to learn more about food. By making this a fun and inviting environment, children can be playful and experimental with foods, and gain a greater understanding about healthy dishes.
As well as these special activities, lunchtimes are fundamentally the most important time to encourage healthy eating in children. This can cover a range of bases, from the school meals on sale and the artwork on the walls within the canteen, to the essential feedback and reinforcement from members of staff.
A great way to encourage healthy eating is to reward children when they eat good foods. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as stickers that praise kids for their healthy lunch choices, as you can see here from rewards company Brainwaves. This type of praise also shows other children that healthy eating is associated with good behaviour and doing well.