It is vital to teach children about balanced diets whilst giving them necessary education on nutrition in order to allow them to develop healthy eating habits that can ultimately contribute to their comprehensive development.
Allowing young people to follow a development plan is a primary factor in why it is of paramount importance to educate primary school pupils on nutrition knowledge. As such, many boarding primary schools are following the motto of the “Three minutes to change awareness” poster, which has been devised by the School Meal Project for Nutrition Education for Pupils. The project has been implemented since 2012 by the Ministry of Education and Training, in collaboration with the National Institute of Nutrition, the Ministry of Health, and Ajinomoto Vietnam.
The campaign is based on the nutrition education method used for children in Japan. The “Three minutes to change awareness” poster has been vividly and comprehensibly designed to feature basic nutrition information of foods, including their vitamin, mineral composition, and corresponding functions.
The poster also serves to illustrate nutrition knowledge by showing images of foods and their essential micronutrient composition.
Before lunchtime, teachers must inform pupils of that day’s lunch menu, with one type of food being selected for its nutritional information, whilst its benefits are to be emphasised. For example, for a dish such as “mackerel braised with pineapple and tomatoes”, teachers can choose to discuss the nutrition knowledge of either mackerel or tomato.
The following day, teachers and pupils will review previous knowledge and choose a new type of food to continue the exploration. From the poster, teachers are able to flexibly arrange interactive activities such as quizzes and games for pupils to learn in a fun environment and therefore absorb knowledge in a more efficient way.
Sharing her thoughts on the poster, Nguyen Thi Nga, a teacher of Dong Hoa B primary school in Binh Duong province, said, “After using the poster, most pupils in my class have better understanding of foods’ roles in health. They have been eating foods that they previously don’t like such as vegetables, fish, mushrooms, and the amount of leftovers has also decreased significantly.”
The nutrition knowledge accumulated each day from the School Meal Project’s poster and videos helps children to eat a variety of foods instead of favourites like eggs, pork, and chicken.
Most notably, the “Three minutes to change awareness” poster can be viewed for free at: http://bit.do/3phutthaydoinhanthuc.
Throughout the year, the release of nutrition food-related video clips has been designed to support schools in terms of nutrition education. For example, nutrition information and dietary functions of tomatoes are introduced through a video. The video also offers pupils an insight into basic English vocabulary that can be used for their foreign language learning process.
The School Meal Project also introduces a nutrition-balanced menu development software, an important tool which offers a menu bank of 120 set menus, including over 360 different dishes for lunch. Each menu is nutritionally balanced for children of different age groups and specifically customised for different tastes of each Vietnamese region, including north, central, and south.
This is a powerful tool by which schools can standardise their menus while bringing tasty and nutritionally balanced lunches to pupils nationwide.VOV