Food manufacturers and fast-food chains spend billions convincing kids to want junk food, placing ads on Nickelodeon, and even reaching kids through apps and online games. Partly as a result, one in three children is overweight or obese, and kids are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at younger and younger ages.
We believe that all children should understand the story of their food: where it comes from, how it was produced, and what it means for personal and public health. Equipping children with food and nutrition education—in the kitchen and in the classroom— will empower them with lifelong skills. Research on food education has proven that:
- -Knowledge about food and nutrition increases children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
- -Cooking and preparing fresh foods enhances children’s appreciation for healthier and diverse foods.
- -Planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables motivates children to also eat them.
Learn more about Get Food Education in Every School, a national initiative created by Food Day and the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to raise awareness about the critical importance of food education in schools across America.
If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in the way your students eat and think about food, here are some curricular resources that will get you started. There are a lot of lesson ideas out there related to food issues, but these are some of Food Day’s favorites!
New Food Education Report: Getting food education – cooking, gardening and academic skills – into every school will require collaboration from many groups and individuals, as well as an approach based on research. This report describes the state of food education in America to provide a baseline and recommend what more could be done.
Food Day School Curriculum: This curriculum of 5 lesson plans developed by professors at Teachers’ College of Columbia University is a great way to introduce concepts such as the difference between whole and processed foods or navigating one’s personal food environment.
Nourish: Food + Community: A multi-media education initiative designed to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability. Includes a 6-lesson curriculum, action projects, learning activities, and a companion DVD.
Jamie Oliver’s Learn Your Fruits and Vegetables program: Use this free sample pack to get students excited about fruits and vegetables—eating them, learning about them and understanding why they’re so good for you.
Planet Health: This curriculum for middle school students is interdisciplinary and contains 33 lessons across different subject areas, plus an introductory lesson and physical education suggestions.
Farmers MarKIDS: Using Recipe for Success's free, kid-tested farmers marKIDS toolkit's five lesson plans, facilitators can help children develop financial savvy, entrepreneurial skills and business experience while they make fresh produce easily accessible to their neighbors.
For more food education resources, check out our Guide for School Organizers.