The organizers of Food Day have published a curriculum for teachers to use on Food Day, a nationwide grassroots campaign on October 24 to encourage Americans to “eat real” and support healthy, affordable food grown in a sustainable, humane way.

The Food Day curriculum offers five lessons designed to teach children the importance of eating real, fresh food; cutting back on processed foods; and advocating for a healthier community.

It was developed by Pamela Koch and Isobel Contento, professors at Teachers College, Columbia University, and adapted from the Linking Food and the Environment Curriculum Series.

“Teachers should consider using this curriculum not just on Food Day, but throughout the school year,” said Contento. “Each lesson has many ideas for projects that students can do, along with numerous resource for teachers. It’s important that we teach health and nutrition in the classroom along with science, math and other subjects.”

Real foods

PhotoThe first lesson plan in the series covers how to “eat real.” Students will learn that real foods come relatively straight from a plant or animal and have the nutrients people need to stay healthy at every age. The lesson encourages students to become smart consumers who can choose a balanced, healthy diet.

The curriculum complements a few of Food Day’s six goals:

1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods

2. Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness

3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger

4. Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms

5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids

6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

The lesson plans are crafted for middle school students, but can easily be adapted for elementary and high school students.

“Educating young people about food and nutrition is critical if we are to prevent obesity and other diet-related diseases,” said Center For Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “The lessons in this curriculum will help kids distinguish between real foods that promote health from junk foods that promote disease.”

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