Thursday, April 5, 2012

Can Reading a Story Actually Teach Nutrition Behavior Change?

“Read For Health” a new Maryland SNAP-Ed curriculum focuses on Interactive reading and activities to encourage healthy eating.  At Baybrook Elementary School’s After School Program - Maryland SNAP-Ed Educators (including UMCP dietetic interns) participate in reading nutrition related books like – “WHO NEEDS TO EAT RIGHT”. Some of the children have reading roles…….
……..while others read along and help if we might miss a word or two.

In “WHO NEEDS TO EAT RIGHT” – there are really two stories.  On the purple side – Tony gets little sleep, eats unhealthy foods and just does not have energy or a lot of fun. When you turn the book over to the green side– Tony gets enough sleep, eats healthy foods, has lots of energy and fun.  During the story children share their ideas on different parts of the book. E.g. What can Tony and his mother do to be better prepared to start the day listing some healthy breakfast foods.  Later they share their favorite activities when you play outside; what are some of the ways you help your families prepare meals.  Every one learns from every one else.

After the story is read – the activity (“the real fun”) begins.  With this story the children make a healthy snack that they can eat a little during the program, but also get to take them home or share later with friends.

The excitement and the interactions this creates are amazing and simply fun to be part of. Nutrition Education can also be fun!

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