Nutrition Resources: for Educators

Having good nutrition is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for kids, adolescents and adults. Good nutrition involves a combination of having a healthy diet, staying hydrated with fluids, and getting regular physical exercise.

As a classroom teacher, Children’s Librarian, Girl Scout leader, after-school educator, or any other facilitator, we know you have a lot on your plate to teach AND keep your kids safe. Use our lesson plans to start open conversations about healthy nutrition habits in your space, encourage curiosity about health and the body, and inspire discussions about treating others with kindness.

Our Lessons

Our lessons are designed for grades K-5 with the flexibility for you to decide how much depth is appropriate for your students. The activities themselves usually take about 5-10 minutes; full lessons might be 20+ minutes with lots of conversation!

Nutrition LessonFrom Form To StomachIt’s Great to HydrateLet’s Make Poop
Description In this activity, you will learn about how food changes form during digestion!In this activity, you will make different reminders to drink lots of water!In this activity, you will make a model of how poop exits the body.
NGSSLS1.A, LS1.D, ESS3.ALS1.A, LS1.D,ESS3.ALS1.A, LS4.D

About Nutrition

  • Good nutrition requires a combination of a healthy diet, hydrating with fluids, and physical exercise. A well balanced diet gives you the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs.
  • Very few Americans get enough servings of fruits and vegetables. A HealthyEating Plate suggests that we eat twice as many servings of these plant foods as servings of whole grains and healthy proteins.
Kid'sHealthyEatingPlate_Jan2016
Copyright © 2015 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For more information about The Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate.
  • Calories are energy that fuel our body. If we eat too many calories without burning them as fuel, we can gain too much weight. An easy way to reduce calories during the day is to choose water or low fat, unflavored milk instead of soda or energy drinks and to snack on fresh fruits and veggies instead of chips or other processed baked snacks, whether sweet or salty.
  • Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, which are made up mostly of water. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. When we don’t get enough water, cells can start to work less efficiently.
  • We lose water through sweat and breathing hard (which is why our breath fogs up in the cold), so it’s important to replace that water especially during high activity. In general, healthy people should get the equivalent of eight 8oz glasses of water per day (2 liters) but the amount you need depends on factors like age, activity level, and even the weather outside! Use your thirst and pee color to guide your water consumption.
  • Not only do you drink your water, but you eat it too! Doctors recommend eating water-rich foods such as whole fruits and vegetables and broth-based soups.

Nutrition in Context: How to Support Students

Nutrition is important for healthy development, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and maintaining overall wellness. Incorporate lessons about nutrition into your classroom by teaching your students about food labels!

Food labels provide important information on exactly what is inside a food before we eat it. Whole plant foods don’t have labels but are naturally packaged with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and water. Food labels only give information for one serving size. Not every package only has one serving size! This information tells us how many calories are in a serving of food and how many servings are in a package.

Use the Nutrition Facts Label below to begin a conversation on nutrition and food health with your students. Encourage students to practice interpreting and explaining facts from nutrition labels of many different foods to increase their nutrition fact literacy!

As you have these conversations, try not to shame any foods or label them as bad; instead frame foods as nutritious or healthier. Also, be mindful that children and families have different levels of food access and your students likely have no control over which groceries are bought for their home.

If you would like more information on Nutrition Facts Labels, the FDA has many resources online.

Resources

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate/

https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/new-nutrition-facts-label