Healthy Food Choices and Nutrition Education
• Participants are making healthy food choices
• Ability to plan a healthy meal
• Can demonstrate age-appropriate knowledge about nutrition, e.g.:
- Older participants: Reading and assessing food labels
- Younger participants: Importance of fruits and vegetables
• All food provided meets provincial guidelines for healthy snacks. Information on healthy foods should be provided at opportune moments, especially discussing nutritional benefits when any snacks are provided.
• Provide a variety of hands-on activities e.g. menu planning, cooking classes, reading food labels, growing a community garden, trips to the grocery store.
• Provide food and nutrition education by using resources such as virtual farms, Canada’s Food Guide, web resources, media influences, etc.
• Nutrition education programs can focus on specific foods, eating occasions (snack, breakfast, lunch, dinner) and situations (eating out vs. eating at home).
• Opportunity to introduce culturally diverse activities and introduce participants to learning about foods from other cultures or countries; Opportunity to introduce culturally relevant activities and introduce participants to learning about preparing tradition foods.
Assessment of outcomes:
Providing education on nutrition and healthy food choices can influence immediate and long-lasting behaviour changes.
Youth programs can engage critical thinking techniques, a focus on perceived effects such as how dietary intake can impact health and how today’s food choices can impact us later in life. Children’s lessons may engage more concrete thinking such as self-assessment, modeling, how media impacts their food choices, etc.
Activities for both children and youth should include a focus on skill development such as snack or basic meal preparation, how to make personal healthy food choices.
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