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Food and Nutrition Education

Why teach nutrition?

The number of young people living with obesity has roughly tripled in past 30 years. Obesity is associated with numerous health risks including diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Schools have an important role to play. Studies have shown that nutrition education programs that run for more than a year can effectively decrease childhood obesity especially when they are multidisciplinary and include family involvement.

Teachers play a crucial role in educating our children about healthy eating and active living. Teachers can also have a major influence over the school environment and what kids have access to eat and drink at school. Making the healthy choice, the easy choice is the most effective way to influence student behavior. Do your students have access to a healthy lunch and breakfast regardless of their financial situation? Are staff modeling healthy eating and active living? Are most celebrations focused around unhealthy foods? Get involved and find out about your School Wellness Policy so you can support your students in creating lifelong healthy habits. Besides, healthy kids are just better learners.

ChooseMyPlate - for a balanced diet

ChooseMyPlate for a healthy eating pattern graphc:USDA
ChooseMyPlate for a healthy eating pattern graphc:USDA

MyPlate is a visual representation of the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The main messages of MyPlate are:

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables: vary your veggies
  2. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables: focus on whole fruits
  3. Make half your grains, whole grains
  4. Vary your protein routine
  5. Move to low-fat or fat-free milk
  6. Make small changes

Kitchen math? Try spotting the sugar in popular drinks and calculate the teaspoons of added sugar from the nutrition facts label: https://cachampionsforchange.cdph.ca.gov/en/tips/Pages/Rethink-Your-Drink.aspx