Nutrition in Afterschool Programs

Afterschool programs provide excellent opportunities to help students build a foundational knowledge of food and nutrition. Youth who develop good nutritional habits are more likely to maintain those habits in adulthood. In your program, you have the ability to help them along their journey.

To help you get started, here are a few tips:

  • Tie your program to what youth are doing. You may have a group that plays sports. Talk about what they need to excel in sports.
  • If you are working in a high poverty area, talk about inexpensive options for maintaining optimal health.
  • If you have a school garden, tie your nutrition lessons to what's growing in the garden.

Food and nutrition are excellent opportunities to teach science. Food, at its core, is a chemical. We just happen to enjoy it. Food preparation involves microbiology and chemistry, math. Think food safety, handwashing, making yogurt. All of these aspects of food involve microbiology. Understanding science helps you to prepare perfectly cooked broccoli and hard boiled eggs minus the green ring. And finally, math, helping youth to measure ingredients teach basic math skills.

In short, the skills developed in nutrition and food preparation programs apply to all areas of life. 

Resources

Shaping Healthy Choices Program – Univ. of California-Davis

Nutrition Education – Team Nutrition

The OrganWise Guys – Summer Camps & After School

Science and our Food Supply – from FDA