In 2014 Poole Grammar School achieved the Prestige Gold Food for Life Soil Association Award, having achieved the Bronze award in 2009. Every year the school holds a Green Week, with several different activities in which the students can take part. For their Green Week this year, I was invited to teach nutrition to Year 7 classes.
The lesson started with a discussion around healthy eating, what it means and why we need to eat at all! The students completed an activity around the Eatwell Guide using food cards to identify the food group certain foods belong in. This created some lengthy discussions… one of these contentious areas being chips! Many of the students felt they should be in the carbohydrate section. However, in the end, with some persuasion, the students agreed chips are not an everyday food due to the high fat content and hence should be in the high fat section of the Eatwell Guide.
The students worked in groups to complete different activities, with the most popular being breakfast cereals and sugary drinks.
For the breakfast cereal activity, the students weighed the amount of cereal they normally eat and compared this to the suggested portion size on the pack. The students were shocked to find they were eating double or triple the suggested portion size of 30g. This then had implications on the amount of sugar in a portion, as 60g or 90g of some of the cereals contained almost 20g of sugar, equivalent to 5 cubes of sugar!
The soft drink activity involved looking at a range of soft sugary drinks. The sugar content was calculated for each drink and the equivalent the number of sugar cubes. They were surprised a bottle of Ribena contains almost as much sugar as a bottle of coke and if they drink three quarters of a bottle they will exceed the maximum recommendations of sugar of 30g/7 cubes in a day.
To finish, the students completed a quiz to recap on the lesson. This demonstrated they had learnt a lot from the areas covered and had a good level of nutrition knowledge.
Our food choices are key to influencing not only our long-term health but also in our day-to-day life, our mood, energy levels and concentration.
Whether at school or at work, supporting healthy eating patterns and a healthier diet can lead to improved wellness, productivity and concentration. Studies have also shown it can reduce the number of days off school or work from sickness.
If you are interested in how a professionally qualified and registered dietitian can help your catering operation, from menu design to simple nutrition advice, please contact us today.