March is Nutrition Month
The Nutrition Month 2020 theme is “More Than Food. Canada’s Food Guide has numerous links about healthy food choices and a healthy pattern of eating but healthy eating is more than just the foods you eat! It is also how you eat. This month’s blog will highlight two sections of “More Than Food”:
Be mindful of your eating habits
Being mindful of your eating habits means being aware of how, why, what, when, where, and how much you eat. Being mindful can help you make healthier choices more often and make positive changes to routine eating behaviors. Use these ideas to help you and your students be mindful of eating habits:
- Create a healthy eating environment. Allow enough time for students to eat, remove distractions such as TV’s, computers and loud noises, provide adequate space for everyone, and ensure healthy choices are available.
- Use your senses to pay attention to the aromas, textures, and taste of food. The lesson plans for What Food am I? (K-3), Foods of the World (Gr 4 – 6) and Crunchy, Juicy or Sweet? (Gr 7 – 12) all include activities that involve the senses.
- Consider eating habits. Think about how you ate; did you eat slowly, were you distracted, did you eat with others? Why you ate; were you hungry or did you eat because it was offered? What you ate; what was available, were there healthy options? Where you ate; were you in a space meant for eating? Discussions about healthy eating patterns and healthy relationships with food can be worked in with body image for health or CALM classes. Body image resources can be found at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/school/csh/if-sch-csh-trl-body-image.pdf
Enjoy your food
Enjoying your food means socializing at mealtime and enjoying the environment you are eating in. It also means learning about where food comes from, how to prepare the foods, tasting the flavours of food and being open to trying new foods. Cultures and food traditions influence food preferences and eating habits. Including culture and food traditions as part of healthy eating can help you:
- Choose foods that you enjoy
- Grow skills and knowledge
- Learn about cultures and food traditions
School communities are an ideal place to learn about different foods, cultures and traditions from around the world. Some ideas for including culture and food traditions in school communities are:
- Attend or host a community event that celebrates with cultural food.
- Choose recipes that explore different ways to prepare and cook foods.
- Talk with students about where the foods come from and where to get them.
- Celebrate occasions and special holidays with cultural food traditions.
Pat MacIntosh is a Registered Dietitian with Alberta Health Services and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org