Healthy eating is about more than having nutrition knowledge and cooking skills. It means developing food literacy.
What is food literacy?
Food literacy is having the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy healthy food to support one’s health, community and the environment. It means understanding the impact of our food choices on our health, the environment and our economy.
Why is food literacy important?
Choosing an apple isn’t as simple as it looks. Is it a local apple or imported? What impact does where your apple is grown have on the local economy or climate change? Is it the most nutritious apple you could choose, one with the highest amount of fibre? What about how sweet or how tart it is? Is it best for a snack or better for baking?
Nutrition knowledge is important to help guide our decisions. Having cooking skills is necessary, so we can prepare and enjoy our food. But being able to see the impact of food choices beyond our own personal health makes our community a better place.
How can I teach my children or students food literacy?
There are many things you can do to help children become more food literate:
- Start a garden. Teach children where food comes from. Planting a seed, taking care of it as it grows, and ultimately harvesting and eating it helps children realize food doesn’t just come from the store.
- Visit a local farm. By visiting a farm we become aware of how important agriculture is to our local community and economy.
- Cook with your kids. Cooking is a skill that needs to be learned. Kids of all ages can help: younger kids can pour and mix, older ones can cut and cook. The sooner they start, the more comfortable they’ll become in the kitchen.