Educating from a young age
Never has it been so important to educate our children about the health benefits of eating well and the dangers of eating badly. The average Western diet is overloaded with calories and deficient in vital nutrients. Our children are the future and when they are growing physically and developing mentally they need optimum amounts of the human building blocks (balanced amounts of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates) in order to thrive.
When I talk to children and their parents it never ceases to amaze me what they perceive as a healthy diet and how confused they are with the advice offered to them by the government and NHS. Some turn to the Internet but there is so much conflicting information on the web that many parents become overwhelmed and disillusioned. Slowly, the better-informed parents are coming round to the catastrophic health effects of a high processed, high sugar diet that is low in quality nutrients and can be toxic to the body.
Nowadays we are witnessing dramatic rises in children with allergies, asthma, autism, diabetes and many other life debilitating diseases and learning disorders. The causes of these rises are multifactorial, but I believe that diet is playing a massive part in driving these modern health epidemics forward. Education is one of the most powerful ways to improve the long-term health of our children. If they understand the importance of the food they are eating and are aware of the dangers of a poor diet then children feel empowered to make the correct choices.
As a practising teacher I am passionate about helping children to be as healthy, happy and successful as they can be. Working with children regularly over the last 20 years, I have seen dramatic changes in physical and mental health, especially in the last 5 years. As a qualified nutritionist I am also passionate about spreading the word of the powerful, often life changing, health benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle. This means I have the unique skill set of having an in-depth knowledge of nutrition combined with the experience of delivering enlightening lessons in a fun and engaging way that the children will enjoy and remember. When children eat well teachers report that their schools are like different places; the children are calmer and happier, behaviour improves, they empathise better with each other and their ability to concentrate improves dramatically with a knock-on effect on their learning.
When visiting schools I offer a number of different programs aimed at improving the health of children and their families as well as the teachers. These include:
- Individual class nutrition: this can be a one off lesson or a series of lessons taught directly to individual classes. The children learn about their bodies and what they need to fuel them correctly in a fun and engaging way. They try out different cooking methods and recipes and even have a go at coming up with their own recipes and menus.
- Nutrition Assemblies: these can be for the children on their own or include parents too. Kids and their parents can learn together how to eat a healthy balanced diet. I find that if both parents and children are well informed then they work collaboratively and get the best results. As a part of the assembly the family leave with a leaflet covering what they have learned in the assembly along with a booklet of exciting, tasty, healthy recipes (including healthy alternatives to treats and favourite foods).
- Canteen Audit: Nutritional review of menu options, ingredients and cooking methods of your school canteen. Working with staff to develop healthy school dinners and snacks, which align with your food cost budgets and government requirements.
- Teacher wellness: Nobody knows better than I the demands placed on the modern teacher. Diet and lifestyle advice can help them to improve their health, take less time off sick and feel more happy and fulfilled in their work. I can address a group of teachers, perhaps as part of an INSET day, or work with teachers individually.
For more information, or to discuss when I can come and help your school, please get in touch.