Help pupils to keep track of what they are eating, as well as to identify and avoid unhealthy foods.
Eating a balanced diet is vital for maintaining a healthy and body.
- Always eat breakfast - you won't feel so hungry mid-morning and you will be less likely to reach for a sugary snack.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables to provide fibre, vitamins and minerals. You should eat at least five portions (handfuls) a day.
- Eat fewer sugary and fatty foods such as crisps, sweets and soft drinks.
- Drink lots of water - your body and brain needs fluid to function properly.
- Choose healthy snacks such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts, bread sticks or plain popcorn.
- Try low-fat varieties of your favourite foods or low fat dairy products e.g. choose semi-skimmed milk.
Pupils should use the Lunch Log to keep a note of all the food and drink they have in school for a week. They should then evaluate whether they are eating the correct foods in the right balance, and think about how to improve their diet at school, if necessary.
Encourage pupils to take their lunch log home and discuss their findings with parents or guardians. This is especially important if the pupils have packed lunches. This fulfills the Healthy Schools Standards, in which pupils are encouraged to look at their school environment and consider ways to make it a healthier place. You may want to pupils to share their diaries and look for differences in types of diet e.g. are there cultural or ethnic differences, is anyone a vegetarian.
Diet can be a sensitive social issue so consider the implications of this work and how best to handle any difficulties or embarrassment that may arise due to differing cultural, financial and social/family situations in the class. It is important to encourage the pupils to make good choices as far as possible but not to feel disadvantaged if their choices at home are limited.
Diet can only be fully assessed over a long period of time and by a qualified health professional. While fruit and vegetables are preferable to sugary and fatty snacks, pupils should not be encouraged to make radical changes to their diet and never to skip meals. When discussing nutrition, it is important not to worry pupils that they may be eating 'the wrong things'.