It's Friday, and in my books, that means it's time to feel good. Let's set aside the doom-and-gloom stories for a moment and focus on some good news!
The students in a Grade 3 class in a school in Thornhill, Ontario, are learning skills they will make use of for the rest of their lives - and I'm not talking about reading and writing!
It turns out these kids are learning about healthy eating, and they really know their stuff: they can read ingredient lists and decode nutrition labels on packaging, they are skeptical of suspicious nutrition claims and foods full of artificial colours and flavours, and they know to avoid products with sugar listed as one of the first few ingredients. The children are even savvy about marketing ploys such as printing puzzles on the back of cereal boxes to distract from the poor nutritional value of what's in the package!
This new knowledge has been translated into healthier options at snack time every morning. The kids are eating fruits and veggies - and not complaining about it! All of this came about when their teacher decided to go beyond the Grade 3 curriculum (studying Canada's Food Guide) and get her class to look at food labels. She found that the eight-year-olds got hooked and eagerly asked to learn more, curious to find out just how many unpronounceable ingredients they were putting into their bodies!
What I find particularly heartening about this story is that the kids aren't developing OCD about food because their teacher is reminding them about balance: things that we (adults) would call comfort foods are okay as a special treat once in a while when nutritious meals are the norm on a day-to-day basis. After all, this isn't about punishing bad choices, it's about encouraging healthy ones and feeling good about them. Isn't it great that young children can learn such an important lesson that applies to so many things in life?
Does anyone else have good environmental/health news to share?