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Webinar Recap | Teach Food First: Food Exploration as an Approach to Nutrition Education

Updated: Nov 27, 2023



On April 26, 2023, Public Health Dietitians, the BC Ministry of Health and Farm to School BC presented a webinar entitled "Teach Food First: A Food Exploration Approach to Nutrition Education". This webinar teaches participants how BC schools are using food exploration as a student-centered approach to teach nutrition and Canada’s food guide. Through provincial collaboration, BC is working to implement a consistent approach to nutrition education that focuses on building food skills and exploring the broader role of food in our lives. This approach has been linked with long-term, positive eating attitudes and behaviors.

During this webinar, participants learned about the best practices for teaching about food and nutrition, and a newly developed educator toolkit - Teach Food First. This comprehensive toolkit offers lessons for grades K-8 that:

  • Connect with Canada’s food guide and the British Columbia Curriculum

  • Are grade-specific and age-appropriate

  • Consider equity and cultural inclusivity

The “Teach Food First” toolkit was developed by the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control in partnership with public health dietitians, BC teachers, and Indigenous Knowledge Keepers. See our FAQ below for more information.


SPEAKERS

Emilia Moulechkova, MPH, Registered Dietitian Emilia (she/her/hers) is a population health dietitian with Northern Health Authority. She works with schools, educators, and community partners to promote healthy eating and supportive food environments for school-age children. In this role, and as part of her Master’s practicum, she has supported various aspects of the Teach Food First toolkit. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Bachelor of Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Public Health from Waterloo. She is a first generation settler living on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tsimshian peoples, colonially known as Terrace.

Simone Jennings, Registered Dietitian Simone (she/her/hers) is a public health dietitian with the Healthy Communities team at Interior Health. She has 14 years of experience supporting food literacy education in schools and using current evidence to inform best practices for teaching nutrition. Simone participated in the provincial working group that developed the Teach Food First toolkit and is a lead creator for the Hands on Food resource. Simone holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of British Columbia. She is grateful to live and work on the traditional, unceded territories of the Secwepemc peoples.

Sonya Rokosh, Community Animator, Farm to School BC and BC Certified Teacher Sonya Rokosh (she/her/hers) is the community animator for the Kamloops Regional Hub of Farm to School BC. She takes a community development approach to expanding Farm to School initiatives across the region. Sonya is also a BC certified teacher, and for the past four years has had a primary focus on outdoor education and experiential learning. She is currently completing her MA in Environmental Education and Communication from Royal Roads University. Sonya lives and works on the traditional, unceded territories of the Secwepemc peoples.

Natalie Laframboise, MScFN, Registered Dietitian Natalie is a manager in the Office of Nutrition Policy & Promotion at the BC Ministry of Health. Since 2010, Natalie has worked in Population and Public Health at the Ministry providing leadership for several nutrition policy files including the Trans Fat Regulation, Feed BC in Health Care, and sodium and sugary drink reduction. Natalie is also responsible for school-age nutrition policies, programs and resources including Teach Food First and the Guidelines for Food & Beverage Sales in BC schools. With gratitude, Natalie lives and works on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

The Coalition would like to thank our presenters for sharing their experience and their expertise. We would also like to thank all the participants for taking part in the webinar.

FAQ

Your presentation suggested avoiding categorizing foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when teaching about nutrition. If we don’t explicitly tell kids which foods are ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ then how will they learn to eat nutritious foods?

Many of us advocate for nutritious school food and work to create healthy school food environments. How can we bridge this work with our understanding of what you shared about teaching students about food and nutrition?


For more information and lessons plans that offer a food exploration approach check out:

Teach Food First Lessons, grades K-8 - offers a searchable database of lessons that use food exploration to teach about Canada’s Food Guide, including traditional foods lessons.

Foundational Knowledge Document – This Teach Food First Resource is a ‘setting the table’ document that supports educators to teach the First Nations Traditional Foods Lesson Plans for grades K-8.

Hands on Food - is a collection of lesson plans that use experiential learning to teach food skills and food systems concepts. Topics include growing, cooking and preserving food, and limiting food waste. Lessons connect to the BC curriculum and are targeted to grades 4-7, but can be adapted for any grade.



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