Nutrition is the foundation on which good health is built. If you want to build a house, your first job is laying a solid foundation. This might be time consuming but it’s not a step you can skip. If you did skip laying a solid foundation, your house would be unstable and would probably fall down.
The same is true of nutrition, which is the study of how food effects your body. If you want to grow into a strong, healthy, slim, adult, you need to eat right as a child. Not only do you need to eat right, you also need that child to learn how to eat when they are responsible for their own food choices. That’s why I am such an advocate of nutrition education in schools, “The Importance of Teaching Good Nutrition in Our Schools”.
Nutrition education in schools will teach kids how to choose and prepare healthy food so they too become healthy – both as kids and then later as adults. This will create healthy habits that literally last a lifetime. Of course, that lifetime will be a lot longer if they learn to eat healthily!
Many kids do not understand the importance of nutrition; their food choices are influenced by peer pressure, marketing, and advertising. Ask many kids what bread is made of and they’ll probably be baffled! Ask them to identify spinach or quinoa and they won’t have a clue where to start. It’s no wonder they are unable to make healthy food choices without parental guidance.
Unhealthy, overweight kids will often grow up into unhealthy, overweight adults because they keep on making the same bad food choices over and over again. The foundation of healthy eating was never laid – and the best time and place to do that is during school. It’s all about habits and habits can be good or bad.
Kids need to learn things like candy and chips are not snacks, that soda is not water, that fries and onion rings are not vegetables, and that jelly is not a source of fruit. Grasping and understanding these fundamentals early in life will save them years of ill-health and being overweight as adults.
While the theory of good nutrition is important, putting it into practice is more important. Practice reinforces theory and makes what can often be complex subjects easier to understand. The things I’d like to see more of include:
- Showing just how much sugar is in candy and soda compared to fruit
- Discovering how many hours of exercise you need to do to burn off a takeout burger, fries and shake
- Learning what happens to the body when too much body fat is allowed to accumulate
- Finding out what diseases can be caused by bad nutrition
- Knowing what a healthy meal should contain
- Learning why water is so important
Establishing a foundation of nutritional knowledge will help kids make better decisions about what they eat. Sure, they still might make unhealthy choices but at least they will know why their choice might be bad – it’ll be an informed choice.
Growing kids need lots of nutrients that are only present in healthy food. Poor nutritional choices early in life can result in ill health later. That’s why nutrition is so important for kids. I honestly think that many health and weight gain problems could be alleviated by more nutrition education for kids; it really should be compulsory in schools.