2 March 2013

Healthy Eating in Spring

In my part of the world, days are balmy, bringing memories of green fields, blooming orchards, and scents of Spring. Many of these memories belong to another continent, where people still plough the land, living off what they reap. There will be seasons of abundance and seasons of lack; crops which blossom in their native soil and land erosion when outsiders demand planting seeds which are foreign and harmful to the land. 

In other parts of the world, Spring reminds people to start exercising, before they stretch themselves on beaches and by the pool. Diets are rushed in, miracles demanded.

One may still believe in tooth-faries but miracles are far apart as one grows up. 

Good nutrition is vital for all, especially for those who are growing, for they will teach the following generation of the benefits of keeping a healthy, balanced diet. 

As fast food chains multiply at a terrifying rate around the world, it is urgent that a spotlight on nutrition is introduced in the classroom. And what better time than Spring?

Nourish Interactive  is a great place to start. There are printables for young learners on food labels and healthy habits, as well as games. You can also find posters and other tips and guidelines on healthy eating. 

Additionally, younger leaners can play the Food Label game, while older learners can challenge themselves by considering calories.  

At Nutrition Explorations (connected to Fuel Up to Play 60) you can find Educational Resources related to Nutrition, such as, Breakfast in the Classroom, with the focus on children learning how essential a good healthy breakfast is for their start of their day. 

Even if a teacher does not want/cannot carry out the activities in his/her context, having a lesson around the importance of why and how a healthy breakfast is good for everyone, is an important way to raise learners' awareness. 

Regrettably, too many educational institutions have vending machines with cheap chocolates and crisps - certainly tempting but not in the least healthy for the long, busy days of learning. Sugar highs only contribute to the growing epidemic of obesity among the young.

The info graphic below is another suggestion. Learners can work around how fresh the food in their homes are, and compare with the chart below. 

The Shelf Life of Food
The Shelf Life of Food infographic by LindsaySnowOsborn.

Vitamins  and Cooking and Processing are two crossword puzzles which may be suited for learners as well. 

Though personally I sometimes wonder about how real certain allergies may be, the fact is that increasingly more and more young people do suffer from food allergies.

Sometimes these allergies are provoked by environmental pollution which doesn't affect adults so badly; other times, allergies spring from the chemicals and preservatives found in food today. 

 Learnist  has an interesting selection of articles featuring food allergies , which may be used in lessons or adapted for classes. 

And of course, after nutrition and healthy eating is discussed, why not find out more about eating habits in other parts of the world or through history? Working in pairs or small groups, it's always wonderful to see what learners will present to the class. 

In which historic period do you think people ate the healthiest diet?


Further references:

5 Activities to Celebrate National Nutrition Month

History for Music Lovers

If It Were My Home  - Compare living conditions outside your country

Improve Your Eating Habits - 5 Infographics on Nutrition

World Food Programme


Count Your Peas ($0.99)

Fooducate  (Free)

Food and Nutrition (Free for limited time)

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