Fantastic fruit for fit kids

13/03/2017

Phillimore Primary School, Sheffield

In September 2016, we devised a new Food Education programme to meet the needs of our pupils and the requirements of the National Curriculum. As a new programme, we needed inspiration, ideas and guidance which we found on the Get Set to Eat Fresh website. The short but informative videos, lesson plans and pupil activity sheets using real life stories of athletes from the Rio Olympics brought the programme to life and ensured the pupils understood the relevance of eating healthily and how this could impact on being fit for school.

Six months on and the lessons have become hugely popular. The most frequent question now asked is, “Are we cooking today?”. Our Y3 programme uses the Get Set to Eat Fresh resource: ‘Snack for Success’ which poses the question ‘How can athletes and students snack healthily?’. We investigated favourite snacks with the Get Set to Eat Fresh ‘Tracking your Snacking’ activity sheets which generated a discussion about the fuel our bodies need and which snacks provide the nutrition necessary to be healthy. We introduced pupils to a variety of fruits, investigating appearance, smell, taste and texture (see photo 1 and 2) and made sure they began to understand links between safety and hygiene. Further lessons included making and designing fruit kebabs (see photo 3 and 4) both for Y3 pupils and members of staff, receiving very positive feedback. Inspired by Samantha Murphy’s enthusiastic video clip about making snacks with a juicer, we went on to create and design smoothies (see photo 5 and 6). We used ‘My Healthy Snacks Pledge’ to help pupils focus on what they might change in their snacking habits and how they could get their parents to help (see photo 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

We have surprised ourselves by the number of easy cross curricular learning opportunities available with these lessons: Maths – estimating/weighing/measuring; English – advertising using powerful language and alliteration to communicate ingredients, presentation and health giving properties; Science/PE – links to health, the body, balanced diets and physical activity; DT – cooking and nutrition. We also found that before the cookery lessons, many of our pupils were reluctant to try anything that looked unfamiliar. However, when presented with new ingredients to discuss, handle, prepare and turn into dishes, even the most reluctant pupils tried and more importantly enjoyed them.

We have witnessed many positive spin offs from the Get Set to Eat Fresh lesson plans and activities. Pupils took recipes home to try out on their families. Parents talked about what they enjoyed, generating discussions about healthy snacks. The school council initiated a check on packed lunches and the head teacher, commending the idea, provided incentives by offering prizes for the healthiest lunches. Our next set of lessons will look at turning vegetables into interesting, healthy and tasty snacks. We will challenge all classes to use the Get Set to Eat Fresh website for inspiration and come up with a healthy and nutritious snack or dish. In May 2017, we plan to hold a food celebration event and invite the local community to taste new dishes, take away recipes and have conversations with pupils about food and how eating healthily will impact positively on whole school improvement.

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