10 Free Things for National Nutrition Month
March Is National Nutrition Month and Includes School Breakfast Week
Emphasize the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. Our recommended resources include teaching guides, lesson plans, best practices, tip sheets, online learning games, educational videos, posters, book lists, coloring pages and more.
- School Breakfast Week
The first week of March is National School Breakfast Week. School Breakfast Week is the NEA Health Information Network’s effort to highlight the strong correlation between schools providing kids with breakfast and their academic performance. A related NEA HIN resource is Start School with Breakfast: A Guide to Increasing School Breakfast Participation. Teachers can download the free 56-page PDF (hard copies are available for a small fee that covers shipping & handling only). Inside, are sections describing benefits, strategies for increasing participation, tools, sample letters, and success stories.
- Bag The Junk
Students consume 50% of their daily calories in school. Bag the Junk examines the effects of selling unhealthy snack foods and beverages in schools and provides resources for the adult school community to champion healthy snack foods and beverages. The site features advocacy tools such as organizing tips, policy briefs, fact sheets, and sample letters along with current news, trends, and thoughts from experts in the field. Educators will find factoids, quizzes, featured snacks, statistics, graphics, links to resources, and strategies for improving what students eat in school.
Grades preK-2, 3-5
- Super Crew for Kids
provides nutritional information and fun for grades K-5. The Children’s Book Corner suggests books that promote healthy living without being didactic. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, for example, is one book discussed. The website also offers coloring pages, activities, and nutrition facts.
- Fizzy’s Lunch Lab
Fizzy’s Lunch Lab is a website for grades K-5. Students can find recipes to download and print, weekly “webisodes,” food-music videos, games, and other kid-friendly features. Sections for teachers and parents offer cross-curricular lesson plans and educational activity packs.
- Dining Decisions
Students in grades 6-8 learn about adolescent nutritional needs and test their nutritional knowledge. In the Dining Decisions Game, students click possible lunchtime food items and learn if they made wise choices.
- Escape From DIAB
Escape From DIAB is an online learning game that challenges students in grades 6-8 to make wise food and exercise choices to escape from the diabetes-inducing kingdom of DIAB and its evil King Etes.
Grades 6-8, 9-12
- Nutrition Café
Nutrition Café has three online learning games that reinforce concepts of nutrition for grades 6-12:
- In “Nutrition Sleuth” students try to determine the missing nutrient.
- In “Grab a Grape,” students answer questions about food basics, bone making, weight control, bodybuilding, fast foods, foods & sports, and food facts.
- At the “Have-A-Bite Café,” students build meals to match their age-specific caloric needs. A nutrition glossary is included.
For Students, Teachers & Caregivers
- Choose My Plate
Teachers will find Choose My Plate a good source of information about food groups and specific foods, weight management & calories, and physical activity. It supplies nutrition tools, printable materials, and healthy eating tips.
SuperTracker lets students and teachers keep track of food, fitness, and health. Six tools provide nutritional information, record food consumption, activity, weight, and goals, and produce reports.
- Team Nutrition
Team Nutrition provides nutrition education for children and their caregivers. Highlights of this extensive USDA program include Nutrition & Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program and Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum. Tips sheets, grade level teacher guides, posters, and more are available as PDFs.
- Any K-12 school district that participates in the National School Lunch Program can apply to Let's Move! Salad Bars 2 Schools for a grant to fund a salad bar. Larger districts can apply for multiple salad bar packages. The website provides application guidelines, FAQs, media, and other resources.
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NEA Health Information Network
No child deserves to go hungry. At the start of this school year, I challenged us as a nation to tackle the scourge of child hunger. Over 16 million children are food insecure.