Sep 04 2009

Recipe for Success

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, one wonders what lies beyond the awe inspiring gates of the school cafeteria. Is it some kind of mysterious civilization that’s completely unaware of the concept of establishing proper eating habits or is it a matter of parents and children opting for something that’s cheap, quick, and filling?

As the heavy metal doors swing open, you are immediately sucked into the havoc and chaos of the twenty minute lunch period. As the parade of anemic green trays pass before your eyes, you become mesmerized by the plethora of culinary combinations that our children have come to believe is lunch. Although there is some representation of the five food groups present, potato chips, chicken fingers, white bread, grape jelly, and chocolate milk do not constitute a healthy diet!

In order to change America’s attitude from “fast” to “fit”, we must begin by educating families as a unit on the benefits of good nutrition in a way
that is practical, timely, and fun. All you need is a tasty little recipe to do the trick.

Recipe for Success

Recreate Get Physical

Educate Teach Healthy Life Style Choices and Behavioral Change

Circulate Spread the word by sharing tips and ideas with others

Integrate Make it Fun, Hip, and Cross Curricular

Perpetuate Make it memorable

Emulate Practice what you teach

Unfortunately, even the thought of “health” class sends most students spiraling into a self induced coma. Like convicts entering a prison, they shuffle single file through the door with about as much enthusiasm as a Democrat visiting George Bush in the Oval Office. However no matter how resistant to change your students may appear to be, teaching health and nutrition is an opportunity to instill a sense of well being and vitality to a future generation. So if you feel like you are force feeding brussel sprouts to a toddler, there’s hope. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can actually turn lemons into lemonade by making the dreaded “health” class fun while involving the whole family. It’s all in the way you present it!

By keeping our recipe for success in mind, you can transform or design any lesson to integrate nutrition into your curriculum. Children enjoy themselves more through the process of discovery and experimentation than they do through direct instruction. If students are actively engaged in a lesson that is both fun and relevant, they are learning. Here’s one example of how you can effectively integrate nutrition education into other subject areas and involve the whole family too.

At the beginning of the school year, have your students coordinate a 5k run/walk, 24 hour relay swim, dance-a-thon, triathlon, bike-a-thon or some other activity based event to raise money for a worthy non-profit organization in your community. Contact local “nutrition” friendly businesses such as whole food stores, fitness clubs, or athletic supply stores in your area to sponsor the event and/or possibly set up booths for participants and their families to visit. Contact local hospitals, doctors, behavioral experts, or health related organizations to see if they provide educational outreach programs for the community and ask them to send out a representative to participate in the event. Set up activity centers to entertain and educate the children about the benefits or good nutrition and exercise, and make it a family affair!

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Posted in: Teacher To Teacher