As a teacher, you may teach students about healthy eating through the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum, however, there are many other opportunities to help students learn and adopt healthy eating behaviours. “It is important for teachers to establish a healthy eating environment in the classroom by ensuring that the topics taught, approaches taken and environments, in which students learn, are supportive of healthy eating“. (Ontario Ministry of Education, Elementary Teacher Resource Guide, Secondary Teacher Resource Guide). To earn this badge, highlight healthy eating/nutrition in your classroom using the Tools and Helpful Links provided.
Food is an interesting topic of conversation; where it comes from, how it can be prepared, what it tastes like, etc. Encourage students to talk about and ask questions about food, when the opportunity arises. When teaching or talking about nutrition, focus on the fun and positive aspects of food.
Find out what other teachers are doing to highlight nutrition and healthy eating in their lesson plans. Share your teaching ideas and successes with others.
Research shows that experiential learning and cross-curricular connections; along with a supportive food environment have the most impact on improving eating behaviour of students. Reflect on your classroom lessons and teaching style and see how to include experiences and cross-curricular connections to healthy eating. Check out the Tips for Teaching Nutrition (see Tools) to help with your classroom transformation.
Be creative and add some zest to your lessons! There is a fun element to food, so you will get the attention of your students when food is presented in a fun and inviting way.
Teach healthy eating throughout the school year
Connect social studies to various holidays that your students may celebrate throughout the year
Teach about health, language and math using apples in the fall
Experiential learning strategies
Let students work with food in the classroom
Visit a grocery store
Start an after school cooking club
Engage your class in the school garden project
Talk with your students about why you shouldn’t fundraise with chocolate bars for the grade 8 trip
Use track and field events or basketball tournaments as ways to reinforce which healthy choices should be made to maximize their energy and performance for the events
Role model healthy eating
Share with your students what vegetables and fruit you pack in your lunch
Bring your own re-usable water bottle from home and drink it throughout the day in the presence of your students, especially during gym class or on hot days