Rise to the health challenge: BNF Healthy Eating Week 2019

The annual British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Healthy Eating Week, taking place next month (10-14 June 2019), has been encouraging UK schools to focus on health and wellbeing for seven years. What exactly is BNF Healthy Eating Week, and how can you use it to promote healthy eating to pupils?

BNF Healthy Eating Week comprises five health challenges that schools and nurseries are encouraged to complete. This year, the challenges are:

  • have breakfast;
  • have five-a-day;
  • drink plenty;
  • get active; and
  • new for 2019 – sleep well.

The week is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to learn about the importance of each of the five health and wellbeing themes, and BNF provides a series of activities and resources to consolidate this learning.

Why get involved?
Participating in BNF Healthy Eating Week showcases your school’s commitment to health and wellbeing and involves the whole school community. It encourages a whole school approach to health – not just running activities in the classroom, but getting caterers involved, asking staff to role-model healthy behaviours and working with parents/carers and the local community to educate them about healthy eating. You can even share your experiences more widely than the school gates – using social media, your website or the local press!

How can schools use Healthy Eating Week to promote health and wellbeing?
BNF Healthy Eating Week offers evidence-based nutrition information, direct to schools, which is easily ‘digestible’ and simple to introduce in the classroom. This includes a variety of resources and some fun, educational activities to engage students throughout the week.

Here are some top tips for using the week to promote health and wellbeing with pupils:

1. Teach the importance of healthy eating
Education about nutrition, cooking and food provenance is enormously important – if children can understand, and be familiar with, the foods that make up a healthy diet, this can support them in making healthier choices. Education can be the first step towards making healthier changes! By registering for BNF Healthy Eating Week, you will be provided with a number of resources to help you to teach evidence-based nutrition education in your school.

2. Make healthy eating fun!
Completing the BNF Healthy Eating Week challenges, and taking part in the activities, can show pupils that following a healthy, varied and balanced diet doesn’t have to be boring! From ‘What is a portion?’ games and ‘Guess the fibre content’ quizzes to ‘Make your own water infusion’ challenges – there are plenty of activities to help pupils engage with, and enjoy, healthy eating and living.

3. Try to make getting active part of everyday life
Getting active is a vital aspect of healthy living and helping pupils to find activities that they enjoy now may help them stay active in the future too. Challenge students to ‘Beat the PE teacher’ – a fun activity where pupils compete against the PE teacher at a number of activities. Those who succeed are announced at the celebration assembly and win a prize!

4. Promote the importance of sleeping well
When thinking about making healthier changes, sleep quality and duration might not sit top of your list. However, emerging research is linking poor sleep quality to less healthy food choices and increased risk of obesity. Meanwhile, a lack of sleep can also influence concentration and communication in school.

5. Make healthy changes for the future
Whilst BNF Healthy Eating Week gives schools time to focus on healthy eating, it is important to ensure pupils continue, even after the week has finished! As such, all the resources have been designed so that they can be used in the classroom all-year-round – remember, healthy eating is for life, not just for BNF Healthy Eating Week!

For more information and to register, free, for BNF Healthy Eating Week visit: https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/whole-school/bnf-healthy-eating-week/.

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