March is designated as National Nutrition Month. So much is happening in the area of healthy eating especially as it relates to children. Within the past year, First lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA has changed the famous food pyramid to a new look---“My Plate.”
You can see an overview of the five food groups at Food Groups - ChooseMyPlate.gov - USDA. One of the reasons for this new graphic stems from the rising concerns of childhood obesity. A discussion in the PD Community--The specified item was not found.--references some good resources pertaining to children's nutrition and a list of Thinkfinity resources that relate to Childhood Obesity.
More information is available in Sarah Ingraffea's blog--MyPlate Food Guide--found in the group All About Science. She includes links to several resources including the Exercise and Nutrition Collection provided by ScienceNetlinks.
Duane Bolin provides a Wonderopolis link Wonder of the Day #177: What Is the Best After-School Snack? that explores the topic of after-school snacks in his discussion How Do You Encourage Healthy Eating Habits? found in the Physical Education group. He asks how parents communicate with their children about good nutrition and its impact on their health and performance.
Other National Nutrition Month Education and Media Resources are available online from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They also provide National Nutrition Month Interactive Games including a quizz and videos for teaching students about food and nutrition.
Using the theme, “Eat Right with Color,” what lessons and activities will you use this month to focus on teaching your students about good eating habits and making “colorful” choices?
Amy Gordon included a comment about National Nutrition Month in a recent post. She wrote, "Childhood nutrition is a rising concern in our society today." She raised two questions related to teaching students about good nutrition:
How would you respond to these questions?
For teens, I would consider using the books in the Eat This, Not That! series.
People are always amazed to discover how many calories are in some of the things they eat everyday and having kids understand the things that make a meal more fattening could be a valuable lesson for making food choices.
Here are some resources I have used before to discuss nutrition and health in middle school.
Here is a fast food calculator that shows the calories and fat in different meals at fast food restaurants. Students can choose from five fast food restaurants and pick the foods they would normally eat. Then, the site calculates calories and fat. I have students first research the number of calories and fat grams they should have in a day, so they can see that often times one fast food meal has more fat than they need in an entire day.
Another good site I have used is a simulation on the PhET site from the University of Colorado. Using this site, students can change their meals and exercise to help determine what they need to do to maintain a healthy BMI.