A physical education teacher, and a good one for that matter, knows how to talk to their students about healthy eating. Diet is just as important as exercise, and as our country continues to get wider and bigger, it’s more important than ever that we teach our children what is healthy to eat and what to avoid.
Whether you’re a new PE teacher or a veteran, it’s important to know how to combine diet and exercise into fun activities for kids. Here are just a few tips to help get ideas flowing.
- Talk about your own diet: Tell your students what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, calling attention to fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Students are always fascinated by their teachers’ lives outside of school so why turn that curiosity into a teaching opportunity?
- Encourage cooking with family: Urge students to spend more time in the kitchen with Mom or Dad, the nanny, Grandma, an aunt or uncle, or whoever does the cooking. Students can practice math as they measure and stir while learning what foods make up their diets.
- Discuss portion size and ingredients: Your students may not know about food labels and appropriate portions, so teach your students how to locate labels and what to look for.
- Bring a water bottle everyday: Water consumption is so important, and if your students observe you drinking water throughout class, they might want to, too. And of course, explain why drinking water instead of sports drinks and soda is a much healthier and effective way to curb thirst.
- Discourage snacking and fast food: Some students may be unaware of how bad fast food is for our bodies. Educate students on what constitutes healthy snacking and why it’s important to avoid McDonalds and other fast food chains as much as possible.
- Remind students to stop eating when full: Seems like a pretty easy lesson, but if that were the case, we wouldn’t have such a problem with obesity! We often overeat, and ignore signs that our bodies are full. Teach kids to listen to their “fullness cues.”
- Lead by example: This is the most important lesson of all. Students look up to their teachers for guidance and wisdom. Don’t each potato chips while giving a lesson on the importance of fruits and veggies or down a soda while walking through the halls. Your students won’t take you seriously, and they just might call you out!